A city council meeting in South Carolina on Tuesday night that focused on a proposed emergency mask mandate at schools and a report by the city's racial conciliation commission grew heated and resulted in the council failing to pass the mask ordinance and voting not to receive the commission's report.
The Charleston Post and Courier reported that the mask ordinance called for all children over the age of 2 to wear masks at all public facilities, "including public schools, private schools and daycares." The report pointed out that the order would have expired in 60 days.
"I do not understand how you think they are going to learn to read with a mask on their teacher’s face or their face…they cannot see the enunciation of letters," one parent said. She also pointed out that it is challenging for children to have to wear masks for the entire school day.
"I want to know, which one of you wears a mask for eight-plus hours a day," she said. She said there are no studies that focus on the long-term repercussions of children wearing masks.
A video of the meeting was posted on YouTube and showed parents who seemed to encapsulate the mood for many in the country. Mask requirements are back for most public places and U.S. health officials are reportedly planning to recommend a third booster shot for the vaccine. Hospitalizations are increasing again and after a brief moment of optimism about getting control of the virus, there seems to be no clear timeline for how much longer we’ll be living with the coronavirus.
The paper reported that there were parents in favor of the mask mandate, but some of the fieriest speeches came from those diametrically opposed. Many of those opposed said they would not capitulate to new demands tied to unproven science.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing new evidence on the delta variant, updated its guidance and recommends universal indoor masking for "all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
The Post Courier report said a pediatric immunologist from the state addressed the meeting and talked about the risk of having children without masks inside classrooms. She said they can pass on infection and three were recently put on ventilators at her hospital.
Masks will be required at Charleston County schools through Oct. 15, the school board voted on Monday. The paper said Berkeley County School District, which operates schools in Charleston’s jurisdiction, has not made the mask a requirement and a spokeswoman told the paper that masks will be optional.
The meeting also focused on a recent report by the city’s Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation. The over 500-page report included 125 recommendations to promote racial justice and equity, ABC News 4 reported. The council voted not to receive the report. The recommendations will be sent to the mayor's office, the report said.
"We the people do not consent to being governed in this tyranny," said Lynz Piper-Loomis, a candidate challenging Rep. Nancy Mace for the state's First Congressional District. She became impassioned and offered a prayer.
"We have freedom, God," Piper-Loomis yelled. She continued, "We will not bow down to communism; we will not allow this regime to continue; we will not be silent; we will not comply."
"We do not bow down to you. We only bow down to God, and our oath is to the United States Constitution. Get yourselves in check right now!" she yelled at the council.