CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – New data shows student COVID-19 cases are increasing across Charleston County School District. At the same time, dozens of parents are pushing against the district’s mask mandate.
Monday marked the first day that Governor McMasters new law (S.704) was in effect; requiring all school districts to offer in-person learning 5 days a week. CCSD has been following this requirement since January.
Now, new numbers from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) show that student cases have been consistently climbing over the last 4 weeks.
“The number of cases by percentage has been increasing in Charleston over the last couple of months,” says Jeff Borowy, COO of CCSD, “that’s something we’re seeing in the district as well.”
Not only are COVID-19 cases spiking, MUSC is reporting over 100 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), a rare illness that typically effects children between the ages of 2-15.
District leaders say these numbers show why COVID-19 mitigation efforts have to continue as more students return to the classroom.
“This is a significant potential side effect from COVID. Most of the kids who have gotten MIS-C have either had COVID or been in contact with people who had COVID,” says Borowy.
However, many parents signed up to speak against face coverings, the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine and some questioned whether or not children can even catch the virus. Multiple speakers refused to leave the podium when their time was up and had to be escorted out.
According to MUSC officials, there is no evidence that face masks are harmful or unhelpful to students. According to Borowy, the experts he has spoken with say the worst health risk has been a few rare cases of treatable face rashes.
One repeated concern from parents is the length of time children are required to wear their masks at school. MUSC officials say they are recommending teachers allow students to take “mask breaks” to help ease any discomfort.
Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait says there seems to be a positive trend when it comes to teacher cases over the last few weeks.
“We are really pleased. You can see when it appears as if there is a correlation when the vaccinations began and the reduction of employee’s rate of infection,” she says.
District leaders are hoping that student cases will start to trend downward once they are vaccinated. CCSD will begin the process of vaccinating students 16 and older this week.