Biden admin threatens to resume Arizona COVID aid over anti-mask rules

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The Biden administration has warned Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) that it will take back state COVID-19 relief aid if it does not redefine programs that use funding to discourage schools from impose masks.

Driving the news: The state has two programs that cater to schools and students. However, these programs are taking funds away from jurisdictions that have imposed mask requirements in schools, TBEN reports.

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  • One of the programs is providing $163 million in funding to schools that don’t need face coverings. Another is offering up to $7,000 to parents if their child’s school requires masks, TBEN notes.

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State of play: The Treasury Department sent a letter to Ducey saying it had 60 days to redesign these programs in a way that meets the aid’s intent, which is to help curb the pandemic, according to the Washington Post. .

What they say : “By discouraging families and school districts from following this advice, the above-noted conditions undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the Treasury Department letter states, per TBEN.

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The other side: “This letter is the latest example of a president who is completely out of touch with the American people,” Ducey said on Twitter.

  • “When it comes to education, President Biden wants to continue to focus on masks. In Arizona, we’re going to focus on math and catch up with kids after a year of lost learning,” he said. added.

  • “We will respond to this letter and we will continue to focus on the things that matter to Arizonans. President Biden should do the same.”

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Do not forget : The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal indoor masking in all schools, regardless of vaccination status.

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