Masks return to agenda following judge’s order
The Georgetown County School Board is expected to discuss whether to require that face masks be worn inside schools when it meets next week.
A proviso in the state budget this year barred the use of public funds to promote or enforce face masks in schools.
This week, a U.S. District Court judge enjoined the state from enforcing the proviso in response to a lawsuit that claimed it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
State Superintendent of Schools Molly Spearman advised districts to consult with their legal advisors about the steps that could be taken to accommodate students with disabilities.
Georgetown County School Board Member Mike Cafaro said the board is scheduled to take up the issue of face masks at its meeting Tuesday. He said he is not in favor of a mandate. He thinks parents should use common sense.
“I think there needs to be some flexibility with the masks,” Cafaro said. “I think common sense should kick in where if you’re in close proximity.”
Cafaro doesn’t think students should wear masks when outside during recess, nor does he think students with breathing problems should wear masks.
School Board Member Pat DeLeone has also expressed opposition to a mandate. DeLeone said people don’t wear the proper masks, don’t use them correctly and don’t keep them clean.
Dr. Brannon Traxler, public health director of state Department of Health and Environmental Control, said DHEC recommends the universal wearing of masks inside schools.
“We know that mask mandates are effective in slowing the spread of the virus,” Traxler added.
As of Wednesday, there were 43 students and 11 staff members in the district who had tested positive for COVID-19 and 235 students and six staff members in quarantine.
Those numbers have steadily declined in the last month.
The highest number of positive cases was 257 students on Sept. 3 and 34 staff members on Aug. 31.
The highest number of individuals in quarantine was 2,639 students on Sept. 2 and 59 staff members on Aug. 31.
The school board meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Beck Center.