COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Two South Carolina lawmakers are calling for an emergency session to repeal the state’s mask proviso, which bans schools from using state money to enforce mask requirements.
The call for an emergency session comes as cases of COVID-19 surge across the state, with numerous school districts being forced to learn virtually because of virus exposures and quarantines.
Many of the schools switched to virtual learning came within the first month of the 2021-22 school year.
State Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington and state Rep. Jermaine Johnson, D-Hopkins, issued a statement after calling for the emergency session, saying:
“When the House and Senate passed Proviso 1.108 earlier this year, it looked like the pandemic was winding down and would soon be in the rear-view mirror. The situation has changed. Now, school districts are unable to implement measures to protect the health of their students and staff without the risk of a lawsuit. We need to repeal this proviso now and allow local governments to make these decisions on their own, based on the rate of spread and the pandemic’s impact on their communities.”
“Four employees in Dorchester District 2 and one staff member in Lancaster have died from COVID-19 complications since August,” Jacob Gamble, the House Democrats press secretary, said in Tuesday’s announcement.
Gamble said lawmakers in both parties, including the entire House Democratic Caucus, called for an emergency session of the House and Senate to repeal the proviso last month.