State senators call for special session to reconsider SC’s school mask mandate ban

State News

FILE- Rain blankets The Statehouse grounds Friday, July, 31, 2009, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – A bipartisan group of South Carolina state senators is requesting a special session to reconsider the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools.

Senators Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg), Ronnie Sabb (D-Williamsburg), Luke Rankin (R-Horry), and Sandy Senn (R-Charleston) signed the letter requesting that Senate President Harvey Peeler call the special session.

The letter cited the state’s increased COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases among students.

“When originally passed, many may have thought COVID-19 was well under control,” the letter reads. “Now, many in the Senate would like to revisit this proviso given the current conditions.”

The South Carolina General Assembly included the proviso in the budget that would pull state funding from school districts if they implemented a mask mandate.

The city of Columbia and Richland County passed emergency orders to require masks in all elementary and middle schools.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson sent a letter to Columbia City Council last week warning them that their mandate violated state law and that they needed to take action or face legal consequences.

Charleston County School Board voted Monday night to require masks for anyone inside schools until October 15.

More than 1,000 South Carolina doctors also signed a petition asking lawmakers to repeal the ban on school mask mandates.

The South Carolina School Board Association is also asking lawmakers to suspend the provisos regarding masks in schools and virtual learning to give local school boards more power to make those decisions.

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