HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A statewide teachers organization is encouraging the public to request mask mandates for their schools in South Carolina. 

There are 85 school districts in the state, and SC for Ed board member Nicole Walker said very few of them are requiring students and staff members to wear masks. Her message: “I hope you’re not sorry tomorrow.”

“We still have time to redirect this course and to try to make schools safer places, and we’re asking people to do that,” Walker said. 

SC for Ed took to Facebook Sunday night, encouraging the public to ask their district’s school board members to initiate mask mandates.

“There are no problems with mask-wearing, and we really need to be doing what we can as a state to shore up our educational system and help move it forward,” Walker said.

Dr. Paul Richardson, the chief medical officer at Conway Medical Center, said wearing masks won’t eliminate COVID transmission. However, he said it will help decrease the spread.

“From a medical standpoint, yeah, I do think that will cut down on transmission,” he said. “Even if we keep one vulnerable person from getting this thing, I mean, to me, that’s worth it at this point.”

Over the weekend SC for Ed reported that several teachers and staff members have died from COVID-19. Walker said concerns are rising as teachers reach out and ask how to get out of their contract because of health and safety conditions.

“Our system is about to break,” Walker said. “And we really need the general public to understand that and to be willing to give some grace, if that’s how they see it in terms of masks.”

News 13 reached out to Horry County Schools and asked if a mask mandate could be in the future. Officials said at this time, HCS will follow proviso 1.108 in regard to face masks in schools.