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SC's 2nd Largest School District to Start Enforcing Masks

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Nick Youngson

Starting Monday, every student in South Carolina's second largest school district will have to wear a mask inside schools or have to go to online learning.

Charleston County schools passed a mask rule in August, but waited until this week to put together a way to enforce it for the district's 48,000 students that they think will follow a a provision in the South Carolina budget that said state money could not be used to carry out any school mask mandates.

The district will use reserve money to pay the salaries of people who enforce the mask rule, so state money from this budget year is not used.

Enforcement of the rule will start Monday, but officials said students will be given reasonable time to comply. There are exemptions for medical, developmental or religious reasons.

The district will pay teachers extra to open up virtual classrooms in case there is a surge in online learning for students who refuse to wear masks.

The delta variant of COVID-19 has affected children much more than any other strain. Charleston County schools have reported 1,655 cases among students and staff members this school year.

Similar figures are being reported across the state. Lexington School District 1 said Friday it reported 1,940 COVID-19 cases in students in 22 school days. The district had 1,598 cases in all of last school year.