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A school board may ask S.C to reverse mask mandate ban

September 20, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A school board in South Carolina will consider asking the Legislature to drop what amounts to a ban on school mask mandates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The State newspaper reports that the Lexington County School District 1 board surveyed parents recently and found that more than two-thirds supported a mask mandate. A similar percentage of district employees also backed a mandate.

At its Tuesday board meeting, Lexington 1 board will consider asking lawmakers to repeal a part of the state budget that effectively bans school mask mandates by denying districts the funds to enforce them.

“For months, we have heard from a small and vocal group of parents and staff on both sides of the mask debate,” School board chair Anne Marie Green said in an email to parents. “We wanted to know how our entire community truly felt about masking.”

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Green told The State she isn’t sure if the board would adopt a mask mandate immediately, “because our numbers are going in the right direction.” However, she said the local school board is better positioned to respond to sudden changes than the Legislature, which won’t hold a regular session until early next year.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 2,357 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 17 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday, data reported by The State show.

At least 2,414 people in the state were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Monday, including 585 patients being treated in intensive care units and 434 on ventilators.