Masks required by some schools in defiance of the SC rule

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, file photo, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, left, and state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, right, talk about a Senate proposal to get teachers COVID-19 vaccines immediately, in Columbia, S.C. A budget proviso that went into effect July 1 prohibits school districts in South Carolina from using appropriated funds “to require that its students and/or employees wear a face mask at any of its education facilities.” The measure was backed by Gov. McMaster. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A growing number of school districts in South Carolina are defying a provision from state lawmakers banning mandatory face coverings for students. But not all.

Many districts are afraid the General Assembly will withhold state budget money if they do so. Lawmakers passed the ban mostly along party lines in June, when the state was seeing 20 times fewer new COVID-19 cases.

Many districts and some lawmakers with second thoughts hope a state Supreme Court challenge to the mask rule will make things clearer. But there is no indication when the justices might rule.

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