COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster says it’s ridiculous for school districts to tell parents whether their child should wear a face mask in the classroom.
“If they do not want their children being forced by the government to wear a mask in school, they should not be forced by the government to wear a mask in school against the wishes of the parents,” he said in a social media video on Wednesday.
His message came a day after dozens of parents staged a protest regarding the Charleston County School District’s in-school face mask mandate.
Parents signed up to speak against face coverings during a school board meeting this week. A popular concern among the parents was the length of time children are required to wear their masks while in school.
“I think – again – it is the height of ridiculosity for a school district to make that decision for the parents, particularly since we’ve known even when the virus was rampant that the schools, the classrooms, were the safest places of all,” said Gov. McMaster.
He believes that since all teachers have had an opportunity to get vaccinated and more people have reached immunity, “it is ridiculous for a school district to be requiring children to wear the mask” unless the parents of those children want them to wear a mask.
“It’s the parent’s choice, it is no longer the school district’s choice,” he said.
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 must 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.
Health experts with the Medical University of South Carolina say there is no evidence that face masks are harmful or unhelpful to students.
Borowy said the experts he’s spoken with say the worst health risk has been a few rate cases of treatable face rashes.