Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues his ban on mask mandates, including the idea that parents should decide whether their children wear masks to school.
This week, the Biden Administration began offering federal financial support to Florida school districts that defy the governor’s ban.
On Friday, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a letter to DeSantis and state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran that any districts who lose state funding because of their defiance will have federal funds available to them.
Florida’s recent actions to block school districts from voluntarily adopting science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 that are aligned with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts students and staff at risk.Miguel Cardona
To help combat the delta variant, the CDC issued guidance earlier this month recommending universal mask-wearing in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Cardona says the school districts are in line with the CDC.
Cardona added that they are more than willing to work with the Florida Department of Education, but will continue working directly with the school districts if the department doesn’t wish to do so.
Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for DeSantis, criticized the Biden Administration for giving more support to superintendents and politicians “who don’t believe that parents have a right to choose what’s best for their children” than to Florida students.
President Biden recently stated that he did not believe he had the direct authority to overturn any of the governors’ actions.
Cardona has sent a similar letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who also has a mask mandate ban in place.