Delivering remarks on Covid-19 from the White House, Biden stated, “Today I’m directing the secretary of education…to take additional steps to protect our children. This includes using all of his oversights authorities and legal action, if appropriate, against governors who are trying to block and intimidate local school officials and educators.”
Biden continued, “for example, if a governor wants to cut the pay of the hard working eduction leader who requires masks in the classroom, the money from the American Rescue Plan can be used to pay that person salary.”
The move, taken at face value, appears to provide financial cover for schools who wish to force mask mandates against parent’s wishes. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee have both signed executive orders allowing the choice to mask children to be left to the parent and not the government or local educational authorities. While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s July mask legislation, barring government entities in the state, including school districts, from instituting mask requirements, has just garnered a legal win. A recent Texas Supreme Court decision has sided with Gov. Abbott to temporarily uphold his mask mandate ban.