Five States Face Civil Rights Investigations over School Mask Mandate Bans
Five States Face Civil Rights Investigations over School Mask Mandate Bans

The US President Joe Biden's administration announced that it has opened civil rights investigations into bans on mask mandates in five Republican-led states to determine if they discriminate against students with disabilities. Republican state officials clash with the Biden administration and some parents and local school leaders over mask-wearing amid an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) wrote in letters sent to Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah on Monday. The letter reads: The ban on mask mandates "may be preventing schools from meeting their legal obligations not to discriminate based on disability and from providing an equal educational opportunity to students with disabilities who are at heightened risk of severe illness from Covid-19"

Earlier this month, Biden criticized Republican Governors over the issue, saying these bans were "setting a dangerous tone". "This isn't about politics," Biden said at the time. "It's about keeping our children safe. It's about taking on the virus together, united." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all people aged 2 and older wear masks indoors at schools. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraged universal mask-wearing in schools even among vaccinated students and staff.

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