- States, including Florida, have tried to ban schools from imposing mask warrants.
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened to withhold funds from schools requiring masks.
- Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said students should “have access to this fundamental right to education”.
States that prohibit schools from instituting mask warrants could be investigated for civil rights violations, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said.
“We are ready to launch investigations with our Civil Rights Office to ensure that all students have access to this basic right to education. And it is sad that we are talking about it now,” Cardona told “Meet the Press âfrom NBC. Sunday.
COVID-19 cases are increasing in the country with the increase of the highly transmissible variant Delta and children are infected and hospitalized at much higher rates. The Tampa Bay Times reported that in Florida a quarter of all cases in the past week were in people under the age of 19. Those under 12 also had a positivity rate of 23%, while those aged 12 to 19 had a positivity rate of 25%.
On July 31, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning mandatory masks in schools. Earlier this month, DeSantis also threatened to withhold pay checks from school board members in districts that impose masks.
Cardona said schools that institute mask mandates cannot be denied federal funds. âWe need to do everything in our power to keep them safe,â Cardona said of the Alachua and Broward County school districts in Florida.
The State Board of Education threatened to withhold funds from districts if they did not comply with the governor’s decree.
“I spoke to the superintendents of these two communities and let them know that we are supporting them. And yes, they can tap into the funds that have been promised to them so that they can reopen the schools safely,” Cardona said.