Masks in Schools
The School District Board of Trustees will be asked Monday night to sign onto a statement allowing for mandatory masks in schools.
This is due to the continuing threat of COVID-19. So far this school year, Covid has infected 368 students and staff, and has quarantined 1,027 students and staff in the Clinton-Joanna schools.
The school board will meet this Monday, 7:30 pm in the Clinton High School auditorium; the meeting is open to the public - there is a time for Public Comments but these must be cleared first by the district office.
This is a South Carolina School Boards Association resolution. It urges the SC General Assembly to repeal 2021-2022 Budget Proviso 1.108, which was passed in June when Covid was subsiding - by the time schools started back in August the Delta Variant had caused cases to surge again.
COVID-19 is a potentially deadly respiratory virus - to date it has killed 700,356 people in the United States (Sept. 23, source: worldometer).
The resolution says, in part, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal indoor masking for all students (ages 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”
Proviso 1.108 makes it illegal for a school district in South Carolina to require masking - some districts have defied the order and it has been challenged in court.
As of Sept. 21, South Carolina has/has had 832,466 Covid infections. For a time, in the beginning, businesses were closed to prevent close contact, but all these provisions have been repealed. The State Department of Education, which runs the state’s buses, re-issued a masking requirement on transportation.
The resolution says, in part, “Local school boards and superintendent, who ultimately bear the responsibility for the well-being of students and staff need flexibility - not limitations - when carefully weighing health and safety guidance at the local, state and federal levels to make decisions for the students and staff in their communities. ... mitigayion measures are vitally important to maintain in-person, full time education to ensure students do not fall behind scholastically or socially.”
There is nothing in state law or in the budget proviso that prevents VOLUNTARY wearing of masks in schools.
The Coronavirus has been in the United States since March, 2020 (some research says since December, 2019).
In other business at the Monday meeting, the School Board will conduct the Superintendent’s evaluation in closed session, will receive a Covid contact tracing procedure update, will hear reports on the School Report Cards and the 2022-2023 school calendar, and will take any actions as needed from the executive session.
The next board meeting will be Oct. 25, 7:30 pm at the CHS auditorium, featured school: Clinton High School.
The Laurens County Council will conduct its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 5:30 pm in the council chambers, second floor of the Historic Courthouse in downtown Laurens. The meeting is open to the public.
Newly elected Council member Shirley Clark will be sworn in. Appointments and funding for the local 250th Anniversary of the American Revolutionary War committee will be discussed, along with an ordinance for a multi-county park agreement, The Connexial Center on I-385, Phase 1 of renovations of the former Winn Dixie building for the offices of Elections & Registration and Veterans Affairs, and a revised subdivision ordinance.
Agenda items can be added or taken away, as long as these do not affect regularly budgeted spending.
There is a 15-minute public comments time - registration is required at the podium before the meeting starts.
The Laurens County Council meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month.