MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Despite a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for all students in school to wear masks, schools in South Carolina are forbidden from requiring them.
Due to the General Appropriations Bill, schools are prevented from requiring face coverings. News13 reached out to Governor Henry McMaster’s office Monday to see if the AAP’s recommendation would change his stance.
The Governor’s Office said McMaster “wholeheartedly believes that a child’s use of a mask in school is something that should be decided by the student’s parents and nobody else.”
“Again, no one wants to wear masks, no one wants to continue all of these practices that we put in place, but however, the kids have done it for a year, they’re used to it,” said Dottie Adams, a board member for SC for Ed.
Adams said she wants the Governor’s Office and the Department of Education to take a look at this new guidance.
“Education is being a part of a community, it’s not one teacher or one student or one classroom or really even one school,” Adams said. “This should be seen as something that South Carolina wants to take care of its children and masking is one way to do that.”
More than 116,000 children in South Carolina between ages 12 and 19 have been vaccinated, making it one of the smallest age groups to get the vaccine.
“Anybody who is unable to get vaccinated, they should still continue to wear masks when they’re going into public spaces,” said Dr. Lucretia Carter, pediatric medical director with Tidelands Health.
Area pediatricians said as kids head back to school, more questions from parents are coming up. Those who talked to News13 Monday said they’re following what the CDC says, which is to wear a mask if unvaccinated, social distance when possible, and practice good hygiene.
“I usually end with ‘you’re the parent, you need to make the best decision for your child, based on what you think,'” said Dr. Marc Bahan, a pediatric physician at Conway Medical Center.
Adams said she hopes parents take the recommendation from the AAP seriously, especially with the emergence of the Delta variant.