Health & Medical

Arizona Can’t Expend COVID Cash for Anti-Cowl Grants, Feds Notify

The Biden administration on Tuesday ordered Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to discontinue the exercise of the impart’s federal pandemic funding on a pair of unusual education grants that would possibly perchance well fully be directed to varsities with out masks mandates.

In a letter to Ducey, the Treasury Department mentioned the grant functions are “now not a permissible exercise” of the federal funding. It is the most up-to-date strive by the Biden administration to push befriend towards Republican governors who maintain hostile masks mandates and otherwise sought to exercise federal pandemic funding to come their possess agendas.

Ducey, a Republican, created the grant functions in August to place rigidity on college districts which maintain defied the impart’s ban on masks mandates.

He launched a $163 million grant program the exercise of federal funding he controls, but he made it on hand fully to varsities with out masks mandates. He also established a $10 million program that affords vouchers to families at public colleges that require masks or that expose college students to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 publicity.

Within the letter, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo mentioned the instances “undermine evidence-based totally mostly efforts to discontinue the spread of COVID-19.” He requested the impart to designate how this would possibly occasionally “remediate” the field within 30 days.

C.J. Karamargin, a spokesperson for Ducey, mentioned or now not it is “baffling” why anybody would oppose the grant functions.

“Following the challenges throughout the 2020 college year, all people’s most critical focal level needs to be equipping families with the sources to procure their kids caught up. That is exactly what this program does — giving families in need the opportunity to procure admission to tutorial sources love tutoring, child care, transportation and extra,” Karamargin mentioned in an announcement.

He mentioned the governor’s administrative heart is reviewing the letter and plans to answer.

Arizona is indubitably one of as a minimal eight states which maintain licensed tricks or govt orders banning masks requirements in public colleges.

The Education Department in August opened civil rights investigations into 5 Republican-led states that forbid masks mandates in colleges, announcing such actions would possibly perchance well well also violate the rights of college students with disabilities. The agency later added Florida to the list of states below investigation. It mentioned it became as soon as watching loads of diverse states in case it wanted to make a choice motion, along side in Arizona.

The Education Department individually promised to repay college districts who maintain impart funding withheld for defying bans on masks requirements. Final month, the agency despatched nearly $150,000 to the College Board of Alachua County in Florida after the impart withheld pay for varsity board members because the district requires masks.

Education advocates maintain filed a lawsuit over Arizona’s ban and loads of alternative diverse impart licensed tricks that restrict the vitality of native governments and college districts to impose COVID-19 requirements.

Those policies battle with guidance from the Centers for Disease Preserve a watch on and Prevention, which recommends universal masks wearing for varsity students and lecturers within the study room. The CDC issued the guidance in gentle of the rapid spread of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.

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