Joe Cunningham calls on SC legislators to repeal proviso banning school mask mandates

South Carolina News

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham talks during an interview with The Associated Press about his campaign for South Carolina governor on Saturday, July 10, 2021, in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Cunningham says he wants to legalize marijuana in South Carolina, something he says would provide healthcare options, create jobs and generate millions in revenue for the state. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Former U.S. Representative Joe Cunningham has called for a special legislative session to repeal a budget proviso that banned mask mandates in South Carolina schools.

Cunningham, who is running for South Carolina Governor, said he’s urging school districts to “do whatever is necessary to protect their students” and said legislators should return to Columbia to address masks in schools as cases of COVID-19 surge across the state.

In a news release Thursday, Cunningham says the governor and the legislature must put politics aside and take the necessary steps to prevent an inevitable COVID outbreak in schools – many of which are set to return next week.

“The sign of a true leader is the ability to admit when you are wrong. The governor and the legislature simply got this wrong and it’s time for them to swallow their pride and fix their mistake before we put thousands of innocent children in harm’s way next week,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham last month released three ideas to increase vaccinations in South Carolina. Those ideas included creating a vaccina ambassador program, delivering a primetime Oval Office-style address to the state about the importance of getting vaccinated, and develop a vaccine incentive program, through the Department of Commerce.

You can read more about these plans here.

Governor McMaster held a press conference on Monday where he encouraged all South Carolinians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 but said mandating masks in schools would not happen.

“We know that it spreads more easily, but there is some difference between that and the original virus,” he said. “But shutting down our state, closing our schools, and masking our children is the wrong thing to do and we are not going to do it.”

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