Education Secretary Miguel Cardona pleaded last Sunday to politicians to not let politics dictate the forthcoming school openings. He said that the country is at a “fork in the road” when it comes to school opening amid another wave of coronavirus infections.
Do Our Parts As Leaders
Cardona said that politics are making it harder to control the pandemic. He pointed out two Republican leaders who called for local officials to make decisions regarding masks in schools. This is amid the fallout over state bans on masks as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Cardona told Host John Dickerson that leaders need to do their parts. “We want our youth to get vaccinated. Listen, and to those who are making policies that are preventing this, don't be the reason why schools are interrupted, why children can't go to extracurricular activities, why games are canceled. We need to do our parts as leaders.”
Politicizing Mask Mandates In School Openings
The Education Secretary’s message comes after warning Americans not to let the politicizing of mask-wearing interfere with scheduled school openings. It comes in the aftermath of two Republican governors banning local school districts from imposing mask mandates. The two are Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
According to Florida’s health department, the state reported 134,506 new COVID-19 cases last week, the highest number in any seven-day period during the entire pandemic. Even as Florida accounts for less than 7% of the country’s population, 1 in 5 new cases is from the Sunshine State.
In addition, the state leads the US in the number of Americans admitted to hospitals with Covid-19, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Texas And Florida Account For A Third Of Coronavirus Cases
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients claimed that one-third of all US coronavirus cases in the previous week came from Florida and Texas. Local officials are already criticizing the state governors for their bans, saying that local officials should have the say. In fact, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy (LA) said that “the local official should have control here.”
Sen. Cassidy, who is also a physician, was asked if he disagreed with DeSantis. He said that “I don't want top-down from Washington, DC. I don't want top-down from a governor's office.
When it comes to local conditions, if my hospital is full and my vaccination rate is low and the infection rate is going crazy, we should allow local officials to make those decisions best for their community.”
Cardona Called On Governors Over School Openings
Meanwhile, Cardona said he called on many governors to help bring some order into the school openings. This included calling on Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, who said he regretted signing the law that banned school districts from implementing mask mandates.
He admitted on Sunday that “it was an error” to do so. Earlier, an Arkansas judge temporarily blocked the legislation in response to calls from both school districts and parents.
“Facts change, and leaders have to adjust to the new facts — and the reality of what you have to deal with,” Hutchinson said during a separate interview with CBS when asked why he changed his position.
In addition, Cardona conceded that he understood Americans already have mask fatigue. However, he defended his stance on protecting school children, saying that making masks mandatory in schools is, “bigger than us.”
Watch the MSNBC ”Morning Joe” show featuring Education Secretary Miguel Cardona: Following Mitigation Strategies In Schools Works:
Do you agree with implementing mask mandates in schools beginning school openings this Fall? Do you agree that this is bigger than us, as said by Education Secretary Cardona?
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