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Charleston County students who do not wear a mask cannot attend in-person class

Officials with the Charleston County School District say students who do not wear a mask cannot...
Officials with the Charleston County School District say students who do not wear a mask cannot attend in-person classes.(Live 5 News)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 2:33 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston County School District say students who do not wear a mask cannot attend in-person classes starting next week.

In a news conference Thursday afternoon, School Board Chair Rev. Dr. Eric Mack said they will start enforcing a mandatory mask mandate for all students, teachers, and staff inside district schools on Monday, Sept. 20, and it will last through at least Oct. 15.

“We simply cannot sit by and do nothing while those numbers continue to rise and increasing number of students are forced to quarantine because an unmasked person is seated beside them,” Mack said.

It all comes a few days after the school board voted to approve the mask enforcement despite a state law saying school districts cannot use state funds to do just that.

Mack said the district plans to use reserve funds to pay for the salaries of those enforcing the mandate, avoiding having to use money from the state.

“Our board has made it really clear. This is about allowing more children to stay in school and not have to be quarantined,” Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait said. “We know if both children are wearing a mask, they’re seated at least three feet apart, and one contracts COVID... the one who didn’t contract COVID does not have to quarantine.”

Since the start of the school year, the district has reported more than 1,600 COVID cases in its schools. Hundreds of others have had to quarantine. Mack said this move will help slow the spread.

“CCSD schools operated with a face mask policy for all of last year, and we kept COVID numbers at a rate that was significantly lower than we are seeing this year,” Mack said.

Students will be given a “reasonable opportunity” to comply with the mask mandate, Mack added. However, those that continue to refuse will receive virtual instruction from home.

Students with religious, medical, or developmental exemptions will still be able to attend class even if they’re not wearing a mask.

For more information from the district on this policy, click here.

The district broke down the following timeline on their mask and enforcement plan for students who do not wear masks.

  • September 20th Process: Conference held with the student to discuss Policy ADD and future steps for non-compliance. The student remains in the classroom. Verbal and written notice to the parent reinforcing that masks are required through October 15, 2021, in accordance with Board Policy ADD.
  • September 21st Process: Student(s) will be allowed to enter the building and will be escorted to the proctored location for virtual learning. Verbal and written notification that continued noncompliance of Policy ADD will result in the student not being permitted to attend school in person from Sept. 22 - Oct. 15 or as determined by the effective date of Policy ADD. *Parents/guardians of students with IEPs/504s will receive notification of a special review meeting.
  • September 22nd Processes: Student(s) will be sent home. Verbal and written notification to the parent that due to noncompliance of Policy ADD student is not permitted to attend school in person until Oct. 15 or as determined by the effective date of Policy ADD.
  • September 23-October 15: Student(s) will be sent home. Verbal and written notification to the parent that due to noncompliance of Policy ADD student is not permitted to attend school in person from current date until Oct. 15 or as determined by the effective date of Policy ADD.

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