Biden: Education secretary can take legal action against state mask mandate bans

President Biden said Wednesday federal officials would consider taking legal action against governors who try to stop school districts from requiring masks.

Biden said since masks are the only way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among children, school districts who want to require masks should not be blocked by state leaders.

Biden’s announcement came during a speech about COVID-19 and challenges the country still faces, including the delta variant and low vaccination rates in parts of the country.

Biden said he is directing Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to take legal action, if necessary, against governors who try to block or intimidate superintendents requiring masks. 

"If you’re not going to fight COVID-19, at least get out of the way of everyone else that’s trying," Biden said.

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Biden said he has called superintendents who have taken risks in their states by requiring masks to thank them. Among those called in recent days is Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, who has pushed forward with a mask mandate despite intense criticism and legal threats by Texas leaders.

Biden said that if a governor takes a superintendent's the salary away for requiring masks, the school district can use money from the American Rescue Plan Act to pay that salary.


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