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Federal Law May Be Violated By Governor Lee’s Mask Opt-Out Order
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Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order allowing parents to opt-out of school districts’ mask mandates is being questioned by the Secretary of Education.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote to Gov. Lee and Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, saying the order may impair a district’s power to establish policies to protect both students and educators.

According to Cardona, the American Rescue Plan requires participating local educational agencies (LEAs) to create a plan for a safe return to in-person learning.

  
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Rather than allowing districts to “voluntarily adopt science-based strategies,” such as wearing masks, Cardona said Lee’s order would hinder the ability of local educational agencies to adopt a responsible return to the classroom plan.

“The Department stands with the dedicated educators who are working to safely reopen schools and maintain safe in-person instruction,” Cardona wrote in the letter.

Cardona added that it is up to the local agencies whether to use those funds to implement indoor masking policies or other policies aligned with CDC recommendations.

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He concluded the letter by saying, “In addition, the Department will continue to closely review and monitor whether Tennessee is meeting all of its Federal fiscal requirements. It’s critical that we do everything in our power to provide a safe environment for our students and staff to thrive.”

President Joe Biden ordered Cardona to look into possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures designed to protect students.





 

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