In a pair of open letters from Schooling Secretary Miguel Cardona, the administration condemned the orders from Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida which contravene public well being steerage from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Cardona additionally famous that federal Covid-19 aid funds for colleges may very well be used to fill any monetary gaps attributable to penalties imposed on native college districts by state leaders.
“The Division stands with these devoted educators who're working to soundly reopen colleges and preserve secure in-person instruction,” Cardona wrote.
The 2 states are experiencing a few of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks within the nation, pushed by the unfold of the extra transmissible delta variant amongst their unvaccinated populations. The 2 states alone accounted for 40 p.c of hospitalizations from the virus during the last week, the White Home mentioned Thursday.
Each Abbott and DeSantis have mentioned they consider mother and father ought to determine whether or not their youngsters put on masks at school. The CDC earlier this month advisable common mask-wearing in Ok-12 colleges, no matter vaccination standing, to sluggish the unfold of the variant.
The letters mark the sharpest-yet pushback by the Biden administration to the state insurance policies, and are available days after the president indicated he didn't consider he had direct authority to overturn the governors' actions.
“I say to those governors: Please assist. However when you aren't going to assist, a minimum of get out of the way in which,” Biden mentioned earlier this month. “The persons are making an attempt to do the correct factor. Use your energy to avoid wasting lives.”
Florida Schooling Commissioner Richard Corcoran has mentioned he could advocate the state's Board of Schooling withhold the salaries of the superintendent and faculty board members of districts which have instituted mask-mandates.
Cardona wrote that “any risk by Florida to withhold salaries from superintendents and faculty board members who're working to guard college students and educators (or to levy different monetary penalties) might be addressed utilizing (federal virus aid) funds on the sole and full discretion of Florida college districts.”
Along with prohibiting masks mandates, Abbott's administration has mentioned that colleges don't must conduct contact tracing for potential Covid-19 infections. Cardona's letter makes clear that federal funds will also be used for contact tracing.
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