Horry County Schools board takes no action on requiring masks in school

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Horry County Schools Board of Education took no action on requiring masks in school at Monday night’s meeting.

Though a discussion on mask-wearing wasn’t on the agenda, Howard Barnard motioned to have it added to the executive session for legal advice regarding the matter. The executive session lasted nearly two hours and no action was taken on the masks.

“I know that there are a lot of opinions but for now, Horry County Schools is simply following the law and should there be any changes, we will do that because we follow the law,” Superintendent Rick Maxey said.

Maxey said the district will continue to follow Proviso 1.108, which bans South Carolina school districts from requiring students or staff to wear masks.

“We do encourage — especially when you’re in a group — to wear a mask, but it’s the law that says you have the option to choose,” Maxey said.

During the public comment session, one person spoke against mandating masks in schools while two people spoke in favor of mandating masks in schools.

“My concern here today is the recent push in masks and Dr. Maxey, I do thank you for stating the fact that it is law right now,” one woman said.

“I think anything that guards us from somebody else that may save one life, I think it is worth saving, said Scott Dean, who has two kids in the district.

According to the district, there are more than 300 students and staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. The district said 99 staff members are in quarantine, and the district is looking to add the number of students in quarantine to the dashboard, which are currently not listed.

“We are trying to keep the kids in school, that is our priority,” said Velna Allen, chief officer for student services.

To begin the meeting, the board honored Ray Winters, who died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. It also approved the spending plan for the American Rescue Plan money.

Several other school districts in the state have decide to require masks, despite Proviso 1.108, including Florence 1 Schools and the Marlboro County School District. Florence 1 Schools said it has plenty of masks from last year and doesn’t have to use state money to enforce it.

Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a lawsuit against the City of Columbia for its school mask mandate Thursday, which also said it wouldn’t use state money to enforce the requirement.

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