Former Congressman and current Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham called for a special legislative session on Thursday in order to repeal a budget proviso banning mask mandates in schools. If the governor refuses to call a special session or legislative leaders refuse to reconvene, Cunningham is urging school districts to do whatever is necessary to protect their students.
“The outbreaks are coming if the legislature doesn’t act immediately,” Cunningham said. “We know that because they’ve already begun.”
He was referring to the more than 100 positive cases and 570 students in quarantine in the Kershaw County School District.
Cunningham said the governor and the legislature must put politics aside and take the necessary steps to prevent an inevitable COVID outbreak in our schools.
“The sign of a true leader is the ability to admit when you are wrong,” he said. “The governor and the legislature simply got this wrong and it’s time for them to swallow their pride and fix their mistake before we put thousands of innocent children in harm’s way next week.”
Cunningham said if the governor and legislature refuse to reconvene, local school districts should do whatever is necessary to protect their students.
“If Governor McMaster and his allies in the legislature refuse to protect our kids from an inevitable yet preventable outbreak, our local school districts have an obligation to step up and save lives.”
Cunningham also called on McMaster to listen to his own experts who are sounding the alarm.
“If the legislature does not act, people will die,” said Cunningham. “That’s not hyperbole, governor. It’s a fact. It’s time to stop listening to your political consultants and start listening to your own health experts like State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell who said yesterday, ‘I have never been more concerned about the health of our state than I am today.’ There’s no more important resource in our state than our children and it’s time the governor put their lives ahead of his own political life.”
Last month, Cunningham released his own plan to increase vaccinations in South Carolina.