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Related: SC DHEC will not order masks in schools
By Live 5's Summer Huechtker
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Wednesday was day two of protests in Mount Pleasant from parents who do not want their kids to wear masks at school.
Parents of Cario Middle School students said they do not want their children to be sent home for not wearing a mask, despite Charleston County School district’s new requirement.
At Wednesday’s senate subcommittee meeting in Columbia, one senator asked DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer why the state Department of Health and Environmental Control does not order all schools to wear masks.
Simmer first noted that research has shown that masks do not harm children. He then said since they have public health order authority, they could order masks in schools. However, he says there are two reasons for not doing this.
First, he says he does not believe it is possible to write a statewide order that would apply appropriately to every school district.
Second, Simmer says as state law says school districts cannot use any state funds to enforce masks, he is not sure how he could enforce a mask mandate under that.
“Now, we have said that we would consider it, if an individual school district approached us, and we were convinced that the only way to require masks in schools was to issue that order, we would consider it,” Simmer said. “Not that we would do it, but we would consider it. But, it would have to be the last resort.”
Simmer acknowledged that he has seen school districts in the state have mask requirements and he says if schools are able to enforce public health orders on their own, DHEC, does not need to issue an order.
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