COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County Council has announced an emergency ordinance, requiring face coverings to be worn in school buildings and day cares to slow the spread of the coronavirus..
In a six to one vote, the Richland Two school district voted to meet with their legal counsel to discuss their options, to ensure they meet the requirements of the proviso and to consult with Richland County on how they will implement the new mask ordinance.
Superintendent, Dr Baron Davis believes masks will help slow the spread of the virus.
"We believe that wearing masks along with students being vaccinated when they can become vaccinated is the strongest deterrent against COVID-19," said Dr. Davis.
He says he's shocked by the COVID numbers, saying its unbelievable they're so high and the school year hasn't even started.
"We have a school district to protect, " he said, "Here we are, its August 2021, and its looking like its August 2020, and its unbelievable to me. They need to become vaccinated and they need to wear a mask."
The district says between August 1st to August 16th, 33 employees tested positive for COVID and 14 employees have symptoms of the virus. 104 students tested positive for COVID, nine have symptoms of COVID-19 and 215 students are quarantined due to close contacts.
Father of two, Ajit Anand, says if the mask requirement wasn't implemented, he would seriously consider virtual learning, "we have two kids going to high school and elementary."
"Even if our kids wear a mask, we know the other students are sitting just three feet away from our kid that can spread the virus," said Anand.
Another parent, Kasha Nels believes masks should be optional, saying, "I think its important for our children to have a normal as possible childhood and part of that is not masking for eight hours a day at school."
She went on to say, "I think that parents should have the choice to send their children in masks, if that's what they want for their child. But I want the same choice for my child."