Education secretary warns politics should not prevent safe return to classroom

Coronavirus

ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is telling people not to let politics get in the way of schools reopening safely as some states are preventing schools from instating mask mandates.

Cardona is pushing for mandatory masks in the classroom.

“Don’t be the reason why schools are interrupted,” Cardona said. “Our kids have suffered enough. Let’s do what we know works.”

The division is playing out at school board meetings across the country with angry parents going tit for tat with district leaders over mask policies and protests led by those who feel their right to choose what’s best for their children is being taken away.

In Georgia, there’s a pending lawsuit against the state’s largest school district for its mandatory mask policy.

“Allow the masks to be an option,” said Justin Verrier, a parent suing Gwinnett County Public Schools. “Allow parents to decide, we don’t co-parent with the school board or anybody else.”

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Leaders from that district say the masks are a measure they believe can help keep kids from having to learn virtually.

“We want to make sure that our schools remain open, and that students are in-person learning,” said Sloane Roach, the Communication Director with the school district. “We know that is critical to our student’s success in terms of academically, socially, emotionally, behaviorally.”

In Texas, Florida and Arizona the state’s governors have signed executive orders barring mask mandates in schools. The moves are creating even more turmoil as some districts deal with the blowback from defying those orders and introducing mask mandates anyways.

“I’m worried about the adult actions, getting in the way of school safely reopening,” Cardona said. “Let our educators educate. Let our school leaders lead.”

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