Here is the latest South Carolina news from The Associated Press at 8:40 a.m.

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SC Statehouse (file)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and fellow Republican leaders of the House and Senate have joined forces to demand that schools open five days a week for in-person instruction. Wednesday’s announcement at a news conference came as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the state. McMaster says parents need to go back to work and children need to stop falling behind. Independently elected state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman says she doesn’t support the demand because of the virus spread. The Palmetto State Teachers Association says the state has to get COVID-19 under control before students and teachers can return safely to classrooms.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina hospital administrators have told Sen. Lindsey Graham that they remain short-staffed and low on testing supplies in their fight against COVID-19. Graham said he would push for support for hospitals and schools in the next phase of federal relief for Americans affected by the pandemic. Graham stressed that South Carolinians needed to wear masks in public and practice social distancing for the sake of health care workers on the front lines. The state saw its second-highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases Tuesday as health officials reported 2,205 confirmed cases and 23 additional deaths. The state has now tallied 60,220 total cases and 984 deaths since March.

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) – A 19-year-old suspect in the shooting deaths of two South Carolina women has been arrested in Indiana. Authorities allege that Damayjhon Quintez Gadson was involved in the June 29 killings of 61-year-old Lori Gentile, of Mount Pleasant, and 25-year-old Lashawn Gadson, of Reevesville. The Post and Courier reports Gadson was arrested Monday by U.S. Marshals in Evansville, Indiana. Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call about a car accident June 29 in Cross and found the two women with gunshot wounds. No further details were immediately available. Authorities say Gadson will be extradited back to Berkeley County to face charges.

UNION, S.C. (AP) – A suspended South Carolina sheriff appeared in court Tuesday after being indicted and accused of sending lewd messages and an obscene photo to a Union County resident. David Taylor turned himself in Tuesday on charges of misconduct in office and disseminating obscene material in 2015. Former Union Police Chief Sam White now serves as interim sheriff until the November election. A previous South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division investigation into Taylor revealed he mismanaged his office. It also detailed allegations against Taylor that include making sexually inappropriate comments to employees. He refused to resign but said he wouldn’t run again. Taylor later changed his mind, prompting the current investigation.

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