St. James High School teacher calls on state leaders to revise school legislation

Southeast Region

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — An Horry County teacher called on state leaders to consider revising legislation that prohibit mask mandates and hybrid learning.

As of today, Horry County Schools are reporting more than 9,000 students in quarantine and over 200 active COVID-19 staff cases. St. James High School teacher, Jerry Moore, said it doesn’t make sense to have 30% of students forced out of school. As a result he called on state leaders to make a change.

Jerry Moore has been an English teacher at St. James High School for 14 years. He’s also a parent. He said in both of these roles, his job is to help keep schools open and safe.

“Our leaders at the district are limited right now by the legislation at the state level, specifically, the proviso that effectively prohibits a mass mandate, and the law that effectively prohibits any kind of hybrid schedule that would allow for more distancing,” Moore said.

Moore sent a letter Monday to state officials and asked them to remove restrictions that prevent local districts from protecting their students and staff. He specifically mentioned proviso 1.108, which prohibits school districts from using state funds to require a mask mandate.

“I just feel like it’s counterproductive and even hypocritical for us to say we want students to be safe and in person in schools, but then block the preventative measures that would make that feasible,” he said.

In Moore’s letter, he claimed the governor and other lawmakers said that encouraging vaccination is the only viable option.

“That’s telling every elementary school student that because they’re younger than 12, that they just have to fend for themselves,” he said.

Looking towards the future Moore hopes for the legislation at the state level to change and to have the power passed back to local school districts.

“Not every district in the state may need to implement a mask mandate or hybrid scheduling. but those options must be available at the district level,” Moore said.

He said even if nothing comes out of the letters he sent, his call is for everyone to get vaccinated, wear a mask and put any other preventative safeguards in place.

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