Feds open investigation into Texas' ban on mask mandates in schools

School supplies and face mask

WASHINGTON (Talk1370.com) -- Texas' ban on mask mandates in its public schools has drawn the ire of the Biden administration, with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights launching an investigation Tuesday.

The agency's Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Suzanne B. Goldberg, notified Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath of the investigation Tuesday afternoon, on the grounds that the state's rule blocking mask mandates may be "preventing school districts in the state from considering or meeting the needs of students with disabilities."

"[The] investigation will focus on whether, in light of this policy, students with disabilities who are at heightened risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are prevented from safely returning to in-person education, in violation of Federal law," said Goldberg in the letter.

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TEA officials updated their public health guidance on Friday, once again telling districts that Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order GA-38 bars districts from requiring face coverings.

Goldberg, in the letter, says the agency is concerned that the restrictions may be stopping districts "from providing an equal educational opportunity to students with disabilities who are at heightened risk of severe illness from COVID-19."

Similar investigations have been launched in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

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