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South Carolina’s second-largest school system inserted itself in the center of a nationwide debate last week when it voted by a landslide to mandate face masks, defying the state’s ban on such measures as delta’s spread continues in the southern U.S.

It was a closed-door meeting with hospital staffers that swayed the board of trustees for the Charleston County School District, which approved the rule with an 8-1 vote on Aug. 16. Leadership from the Medical University of South Carolina came armed with data showing that even with only sports practices and summer camps underway, positive Covid-19 cases among public-school students in the last month were on track to surpass those seen in all of the fall semester of 2020.

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