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The City of Columbia is planning to require masks in elementary and middle schools if it declares a state of emergency today as COVID-19 cases surge. The move, which is sure to set up a legal challenge following a state budget proviso that banned masks in classrooms, would be the first by a local government in South Carolina if its city council approves the policy today. More: Associated Press, The Post and Courier

Meanwhile, more than 1,300 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, which said the delta variant is more transmissible than Ebola. More: The State, The New York Times, The Post and Courier

In other headlines:

Charleston teachers rate superintendent, board ‘minimally effective’ in annual survey. A Charleston Teacher Alliance survey showed highest ratings for the school board and superintendent in the past four years — the leaders were overall considered “minimally effective.” More: The Post and Courier

Salvage, cleanup operations underway after dredging barge overturns in Charleston harbor. The Coast Guard along with state and local port agencies responded to a 120-foot dredge barge that capsized in the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina early Wednesday morning. More: WCSC TV

Charleston’s racial reconciliation commission makes recommendations. Charleston’s Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation has issued its report and recommendations for addressing inequities in a wide array of areas in the city. More: The Post and Courier, WCSC TV

Tecklenburg pushes for vaccinations. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg called for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in an op-ed published today. “Put simply, our state is now in the grips of an optional pandemic — the first optional pandemic in human history. That’s right, folks. We have the option of ending this pandemic.” More: The Post and Courier 

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