Our View: School Districts Should Follow McCormick’s Lead | Editorials

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“Local school boards and superintendents who ultimately bear the responsibility for the well-being of students and staff need flexibility, not limitations, when they carefully assess health and safety boards at school. local, state and federal levels to make decisions for students and staff in their communities. “

In just 47 words, the McCormick County School District has summed up what other leaders in the public school district should tell lawmakers and Governor Henry McMaster in Colombia as our state continues to try to navigate the meandering, rocky river. widened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, with a 6-1 vote, the school board passed the above resolution asking the legislature to repeal clause 1.108. This part of the South Carolina General Assembly Appropriation Bill 2021-22 prohibits school districts from using the funds allocated by the bill to enforce the wearing of masks.

We still don’t understand. Have children wear masks on school buses, but as soon as their feet touch school grounds and enter classrooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums and hallways, the masks are removed. Well, that is, it’s optional, only depending on what the parents want.

Truly? What meaning does it have? Maybe parents who don’t care if their kids get or spread the virus don’t even want their kids masked on the bus. Hypocrisy at its best.

And children are children. They are easily influenced. The few children whose parents genuinely care about the health and well-being of their children, as well as the health of others, including when they come home from school, will order their children to wear masks. Their unmasked classmates, however, will undoubtedly tease them a lot, perhaps to the point that they go against Mom and Dad’s wishes.

Allowing schools to make local decisions – there is this concept of house rule that the governor likes, but only when practical or politically appropriate – will accomplish two things.

It will help curb the spread of the virus, which has sickened and even killed some children in South Carolina, and it will be an equalizer among students as it will significantly reduce shame and teasing.

The school board and McCormick County Superintendent Jaime Hembree likely won’t mind other districts borrowing their 47 words and following suit. There is strength in numbers.

There is also less risk of illness and death among students, staff and parents when more, not fewer, masks are in our schools.

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