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Federal judge overturns state mask mandate ban for schools

U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Tuesday halted a South Carolina budget proviso that banned school districts in the state from mandating their students and staff wear masks.

Parents of disabled children, aided by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), sued the state. The suit claimed the proviso discriminated against medically vulnerable students by making it more difficult for them to stay in in-person school during the pandemic.

Geiger wrote in a statement after the decision that the ruling was not a close call. “No one can reasonably argue that it is an undue burden to wear a mask to accommodate a child with disabilities,” Lewis wrote.

A spokesman for S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said the ruling will not be the final word on the case, hinting at the possibility of taking the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials reported 1,915 total cases of COVID-19 Sept. 29, with 1,144 confirmed. A total of 114 new deaths, with 85 confirmed, were also reported Wednesday.

With 14,824 tests reported, 18.8% were confirmed positive.

Percentage of S.C. residents who have received at least one vaccine dose: 60.3%
Percentage of S.C. residents who have completed vaccination: 51.9%