As COVID cases rise, Gov. McMaster says closing schools and mandating masks is not the answer, ‘personal responsibility is’

South Carolina News

FILE – In this July 29, 2020 file photo, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks during a COVID-19 briefing as state epidemiologist Linda Bell, left, looks on, in West Columbia, S.C. McMaster ended South Carolina’s ongoing pandemic-related state of emergency on Monday, June 7, 2021. The Republican said during a news conference that the coronavirus situation in the state had improved to the point that it was no longer necessary. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster fired off a series of tweets on Tuesday regarding the use of face masks in schools.

Coronavirus cases are again rising as students across the state inch closer to a new school year. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported more than 800 new daily cases on Tuesday.

But many school districts will not require students to wear a face mask in the classroom.

“State law now prohibits school administrators from requiring students to wear a mask,” said Gov, McMaster. “The General Assembly agreed with me – and that decision is now left up to the parents.”

The South Carolina legislature’s ‘Mask Mandate Prohibition’ proviso, which was signed into law by Gov. McMaster and went into effect July 1, stipulates that “no school district, or any of its schools, may use any fund appropriated or authorized pursuant to this act to require that its students and/or employees wear a facemask at any of its education facilities.”

In his tweet, Gov. McMaster acknowledged that the Delta variant poses a threat to South Carolinians. But he said “shutting our state down, closing schools, and mandating masks is not the answer. Personal responsibility is.”

McMaster said the coronavirus vaccine works and again urged those who are resistant to speak with their doctors and family members to “consider all of your options.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) last week suggested “all students older than two years and all school staff should wear face masks at school (unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit use” during the upcoming school year.

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