Red state governors like Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Greg Abbott (R-TX) love “freedom” so much that they’ve taken away school districts’ rights to protect their students, legally mandating that children who attend public schools must do so with people who are unmasked and unvaccinated while hospitalization numbers soar in both states due to COVID-19. Number of infections and hospital admission rates are soaring in both states.
NEW: the U.S. Dept. of Education is “deeply concerned” about @GovRonDeSantis’ executive order seeking to block local school mask mandates, and stands ready to help districts directly. USDOE Secretary Miguel Cardona penned letters to DeSantis and FL school superintendents today pic.twitter.com/WnffAIglh1
— Ryan Dailey (@RT_Dailey) August 13, 2021
Ron DeSantis went so far as to threaten to withhold the salaries of any education official in Florida who mandated that masks be worn inside school buildings in accordance with CDC guidelines. Hoping to boost his future presidential campaign by appealing to supporters who believe the vaccine is a conspiracy and medical science is biased against all of humanity, DeSantis has pushed anti-mask legislation so hard that his state has once again become a hotspot for the virus.
“We’re talking about protecting students, this shouldn’t be hard”: Education Sec. Miguel Cardona warns that students and teachers need to wear masks in schools — or in-person classes could be shut down again. pic.twitter.com/vJ0H9Q8mjm
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 6, 2021
The Biden administration, however, doesn’t intend to allow DeSantis to threaten officials in charge of protecting students’ lives and politicize efforts to do so. According to the Miami-Herald, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told members of the Florida Association of School Administrators in a letter on Friday that:
‘I want you to know that the U.S. Department of Education stands with you.’
“Don’t be the reason why schools are interrupted.”
— Education Sec. Miguel Cardona’s message to governors like Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who have banned mask mandates. pic.twitter.com/iFLPOkSO0D
— The Recount (@therecount) August 5, 2021
Standing with education officials, for Cardona, meant also sending a letter to DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran in Florida, letting them know that their threats won’t work. The Biden administration will allow funds already in hand at the school systems to pay any member whose salary is withheld by the governor.
‘In other words, any threat by Florida to withhold salaries from superintendents and school board members who are working to protect students and educators (or to levy other financial penalties) can be addressed using ESSER funds at the sole and complete discretion of Florida school districts.’
Education secretary: 'We're clearly at a fork in the road' in opening schools safely
Miguel Cardona said he has reached out to different state leaders in order to find consensus on how to best protect and educate students.https://t.co/rYfuwYprom
— Support Jeffco Kids (@SupportJeffKids) August 12, 2021