The Biden administration had found a way to help schools in Florida sidestep its governor’s ban on mask mandate, financial aid.
In the latest move between the fights on what should be best strategies to lead citizens through the new COVID-19 strain threats, the Biden administration offered federal money to districts subjected to state fund withdrawals for disobeying the orders of governor Ron DeSantis’ (R-Fla.).
“We are eager to partner with [the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE)] on any efforts to further our shared goals of protecting the health and safety of students and educators,” wrote U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a Friday, Aug. 13 letter, according to Politico.
“If FLDOE does not wish to pursue such an approach, the Department will continue to work directly with the school districts and educators that serve Florida’s students,” he added.
The letter was assigned to DeSantis and state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
On July 30, the Republican governor issued an executive order that prohibits schools from imposing a mask mandate and leaving the decision down to parents’ references. Following the order, schools and their leaders will risk their salaries if they bypass the demand.
While the policy does not directly oppose masks as schools, it opens a scenario where schools may not have all of their students masking up on campus. In addition, not everyone accepted it as updates showed the Delta variant’s ability to spread and affect younger people.
According to Cardona, the schools have the right to obey the CDC’s advice instead of their governor’s order.
“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,” he stated.
The controversial order had prompted a public feud between President Joe Biden and DeSantis, especially after the president told the state leaders who refuse to follow the strict COVID-19 protocols to “get out of the way.”
Florida is seeing record-high COVID-19 cases during the new school year.
Politico reported from the local Sun-Sentinel that schools saw some positive cases emerge, and students have to quarantine after exposure to infected people.
In response to his ban on mask mandates, Fox News reported, Cardona wrote a similar letter to Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas.
Abbott, meanwhile, wanted his state to go through the Delta wave with personal responsibility.
However, Florida and Texas are among the worst-hit places in the United States by the Delta variant.
According to the White House and other reports, Florida and Texas accounted for 40% of the country’s viral hospitalizations in the last week, and Florida has set new case-count records.