Lowcountry parents say Governor McMaster’s student mask waivers cause ‘big mess’ as they divide community
CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – School leaders and parents in the Lowcountry are pushing back after Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order allowing parents to sign a waiver and prevent their children from wearing masks to school.
The governor’s announcement on Tuesday came as a shock to many education officials across the state, including Superintendent Molly Spearman.
“I did not speak with the governor. He didn’t ask for my opinion on this, however, I spoke with his staff and asked them not to. We had to end this school year with the term in place as it was, ”says Spearman.
This decree ordered the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to create the exemption. The form must be signed by a parent or guardian if the student is under 18 to be valid.
DHEC officials say their position on the mask recommendation was not made with this McMaster decision. Dr Edward Simmer, Director of DHEC, says: “We believe that wearing masks reduces the risk of infection with covids, especially indoors.”
The Charleston County School District held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to decide how to move forward. The chairman, Dr Eric Mack, said that whatever the opinion of the board, they will follow the governor’s order.
“As a board of directors, we must comply with the decree authorizing exemptions to masks. But we take this opportunity to make a sincere appeal to allow successful protocols to be put in place for this most unusual year of this school year, ”says Mack.
Although this is the decision that a number of CCDS parents have protested against; many parents who want their children to wear masks at school feel their hands are tied.
“This is just a big mess,” says Christina Chase, mother of 3 CCSD students.
Chase says the majority of parents she has spoken to confidently have expert medical advice and fully agree with the mask mandate in place.
However, she says the idea of masked children being in the same classroom as unmasked children is concerning.
“For masked families – we don’t sign anything. We basically have no choice but to send our child to school and brave him and hope for the best, ”says Chase.
Governor McMaster says he is upholding his decision. For more details on the unsubscribe form, click here.