Chester County Schools returning to mask mandate but not everyone is pleased


CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – After five days of school, the Chester County School District mask mandate is back following a 6-1 vote on Monday night.

“The approval of policy ADD face covering, reinstatement, all those in favor, signify by saying Aye — Aye!”

Sandra Lovern was the opposing vote. 

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“I feel like it should be the right of the parent and then the individual to decide whether they wear a face covering or not. If they feel more comfortable wearing it then that’s fine but I don’t think we should be forced to have to put on masks again,” she said during the meeting. 

Superintendent Dr. Antwon Sutton says this was done out of the abundance of caution. 

“This week we have over 200 students have been quarantined right now due to being close contacts of possibly being exposed virus from other students who were positive in their classes last week,” he said. 

“Last week we had several classes, entire classes, one particular school, one positive student impacted 32 students,” Dr. Sutton continued. 

Dr.  Sutton says by last Friday the district saw almost 30 positive cases – prompting them to make the decision to bring back face coverings.

Governor McMaster threatened to stop state funding to schools or districts that enforce a mask mandate.

Dr. Sutton says the district still has unused PPE that was donated last year along with items purchased with federal funding.

“We’re not in the position to have to make any purchases right now. We’ve informed our schools that if they need any purchases of any masks or anything, that the district will be the ones who can do that to make sure we utilize federal or local funding for those purchases,” he said. 

The ACLU of South Carolina filed a lawsuit on Monday along with the Disability rights groups and parents of children with disabilities challenging a mask ban.

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They say the ban effectively excludes these students from public schools, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

“That’s something that’s in the back of our mind all the time with those staff and students with underlying conditions. They were definitely at a greater risk when we didn’t have the mask mandate or policy in place, and now that we will hopefully that will help again slow the spread of the virus and maybe it won’t impact them as much,” says Dr. Sutton. 

He says some parents are happy and some parents aren’t. 

“People are afraid right now. People are hospitalized. People are dying from that. And I don’t want that, as a Superintendent, for that to happen and for us to lose students or staff when all it took was people wearing masks to slow the spread of this virus,” Dr. Sutton added. 

The mandate goes into effect on Aug 30. Dr. Sutton says it gives families time to go and buy masks as well as allows him to communicate with district staff to outline the protocols and procedures for this.

District administration will review COVID-19 cases and revisit the policy in 60-day intervals.


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