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Education Department repays Florida school board members whose salaries were withheld for enforcing mask mandates

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The Alachua County School Board, one of many school districts with mask necessities, was awarded $147,719 in grants beneath the Project to Support America’s Families and Educators (Project SAFE) grant program, the Education Department introduced. The school board is the primary to obtain the award beneath this system that was created to assist school districts going through monetary penalties by implementing “methods to forestall the unfold of COVID-19 in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention steerage” comparable to masking, in accordance with the division.

“We needs to be thanking districts for utilizing confirmed methods that may hold colleges open and protected, not punishing them. We stand with the devoted educators in Alachua and throughout the nation doing the correct factor to guard their school communities,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona mentioned in an announcement issued Thursday. “With these grants, we’re ensuring colleges and communities throughout the nation which might be dedicated to soundly returning to in-person studying know that we have now their backs. I commend Alachua for defending its college students and educators, and I stay up for working with them to offer college students their greatest 12 months but.”

Dr. Carlee Simon, superintendent for Alachua County Public Schools, thanked Cardona and President Joe Biden on Thursday.

“We very a lot respect the assist of the President and the US Department of Education. So thanks Mr. Secretary,” Simon mentioned in a video posted on Twitter by Cardona that was retweeted.
Richard Corcoran, Florida’s training commissioner, introduced final month that the Florida Department of Education had begun withholding salaries of board members on the Alachua and Broward County school districts over mask necessities.

“We’re going to struggle to guard father or mother’s rights to make well being care selections for their kids. They know what’s greatest for their kids,” Corcoran mentioned in an announcement on the time. “What’s unacceptable is the politicians who’ve raised their proper palms and pledged, beneath oath, to uphold the Constitution however aren’t doing so. Simply mentioned, elected officers can’t decide and select what legal guidelines they wish to comply with.”

In July, DeSantis issued an government order requiring Florida’s well being and training departments to create guidelines based mostly on mother and father’ rights to make the well being care selections for their kids who’re college students. Several lawsuits have since been filed difficult the constitutionality of the manager order.
A Florida district courtroom dominated earlier this month that DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates might stand. The governor had filed an emergency enchantment after a choose dominated that the state should cease its enforcement of a mask ban.
The civil rights enforcement arm of the US Department of Education mentioned it’s opening an investigation into whether or not the Florida training division “could also be stopping school districts within the state from contemplating or assembly the wants of scholars with disabilities” with the mask mandate ban.