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Horowitz: SC and FL governors lead on unmasking and unshackling our children

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We often hear that half the states no longer criminalize human breath and have ditched their mask mandates, but it’s simply not true. The most immoral and scientifically indefensible aspect of the mask mandate is the masking of schoolchildren for seven hours a day. That is continuing in nearly every county of most red states, with few of the governors even attempting to rein in local school boards. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has now provided a blueprint for how to actually enforce the termination of the mask mandate on local school districts.

On Tuesday, Gov. McMaster ordered the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control and the state’s Department of Education to distribute waiver forms to all parents, which will allow them to opt out of any mask mandate in their district’s public school. This will ensure that all children will be allowed in school without their face covered if their parent signs the document.

“We have known for months that our schools are some of the safest places when it comes to COVID-19,” McMaster said in a press release. “With every adult in our state having the opportunity to receive a vaccine, it goes against all logic to continue to force our children – especially our youngest children – to wear masks against their parents’ wishes. Whether a child wears a mask in school is a decision that should be left only to a student’s parents.”

Here is a copy of the waiver in the Spartanburg school district.

Executive Order 2021-23 also declares any local mask mandate based on original emergency orders to be pre-empted and invalid. The order further prohibits any local government entity from requiring proof of vaccination to obtain services.

It has become clear that we will have to pry the mask obsession out of these local governments with as much force as we can apply. We cannot rely on simply terminating mandates in word only, but must repeal them with as much force as they were implemented. Requiring school districts to mail out consent forms is a good first step, which will also create a clear legal cause of action against those districts that violate the policy.

To the south in Florida, Gov. DeSantis has already superseded local mandates and signed a bill banning requirement of vaccines in schools. The Florida Department of Education already announced guidelines to end the school mask mandates for the next academic year. Also this week, Florida State University announced that masks will no longer be required on campus.

On Tuesday, DeSantis called on schools to return to complete normalcy. “These kids do not need to be wearing masks, OK? I’m sorry, they don’t,” DeSantis said Tuesday at a Jacksonville high school. “We need to be able to let them be kids and let them act normally, and that’s what should be the case in the fall (and) throughout the school year.”

Either way, the governors will have to use their control over the state departments of education and health to hold localities accountable and make sure the mask craze actually comes to an end. The mask has become to the left what guns are to the right. Just as Charlton Heston said, you will have to pry the gun “from my cold, dead hands,” so too we will have to pry the masks from the warm, moist, bacteria-filled faces of the COVID cultists. That will require an indefatigable grassroots pressure campaign that must include lawsuits, naming and shaming county and state bureaucrats, and a sustained focus on local elections.

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