Horry County Schools Superintendent Rick Maxey addressed public concerns in a released video on Tuesday afternoon concerning Covid 19 related issues.
Dr. Rick Maxey addressed three recurring questions he has been hearing from parents and employees who are concerned about virus spikes and ongoing systems now employed by the school district.
The three top questions are:
- Why can’t the school board or the school district issue a mask mandate? Around the state, other local governments and school districts have done so.
- Why did Horry County Schools install plexiglass in school classrooms and then remove the plexiglass over the summer?
- Why doesn’t Horry County Schools use the hybrid schedule like it did last year in order to address the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in our schools? It was not a perfect schedule, but it could help cut down on the number of students in a school building at one time.
In the answer to the first question, Maxey states that the Horry County Board of Education can’t legally issue a mask mandate in classrooms because it would be a violation of state law Proviso 1.108 which states that school districts can’t use any state funds to implement a mask mandate. This proviso was passed by S.C. Legislators last Spring and signed into law by Governor McMaster.
Maxey explained that since public school employees are paid using a portion of state funds, the proviso bans public school employees from being legally able to announce, enforce or require students or employees to wear a face mask.
While other school districts have implemented mask mandates, Maxey said that Horry County Schools receive $247 million from the state and the district simply can’t afford to lose that state funding.
Maxey also explained that the plexiglass barriers were put in after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) endorsed them as a means to have in-person instruction. But in March 2021, the CDC rescinded its recommendation that barriers in classrooms reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Consequently, Horry County Schools removed all plexiglass barriers from district classrooms over the summer and focused its efforts on installing bipolar ionization units in our schools in order to enhance indoor air quality to combat the virus,” Maxey said in the above video.
Maxey stated that implementing a hybrid schedule, once again would be a violation of state law. The opportunity for implementing a hybrid schedule was taken away when State Senators and State Representatives passed Proviso 1.108
The S.C. General Assembly passed a joint resolution and the governor signed into law in April 2021 that every school district in the state must offer five-day, in-person classroom instructions.
“At this point, I hope that it is clear that locally, our school district and board of education are limited in what we can do to address the spread of COVID-19 in our schools due to specific state laws that restrict us from actions that we may have taken on a local level in the past,” Maxey said in the video.
Your local State Representative or your State Senator are the contact resources parents should reach out to if they want this law changed.
South Carolina Senate Delegation
Click on any of the below with Covid School Concerns
- Stephen L. Goldfinch, District 34
- Greg Hembree, District 28
- Luke A. Rankin, District 33
- Ronnie A. Sabb, District 32
- Kent M. Williams, District 30
South Carolina House Delegation
- Carl L. Anderson, District 103
- Lucas Atkinson, District 57
- William H. Bailey, District 104
- Thomas C. “Case” Brittain Jr., District 107
- Heather Ammons Crawford, District 68
- Russell W. Fry, District 106 Currently running for U.S. District 7 Congress
- Kevin Hardee, District 105
- Jackie E. “Coach” Hayes, District 55
- Jeffrey E. “Jeff” Johnson, District 58
- Timothy A. “Tim” McGinnis, District 56
- U.S. Senate
- U.S. House
Other County Information
- Horry County Website
- Voter Registration Information
- County Map
- County Population: 350,000 (2020 census)
- County Seat: Conway