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White House Press Secretary Psaki Says Federal COVID Relief Dollars Will Be Used to Support Schools Punished for Passing Mask Mandates

Photo: Danielle Prieur
Photo: Danielle Prieur

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says the Biden administration is prepared to send relief money to schools that oppose Gov. Ron DeSantis and pass mask mandates. 

The press secretary’s comments come days after DeSantis threatened to cut school officials’ salaries for requiring facial coverings of students. 

Psaki says the Biden administration is working out how to send American Rescue Plan dollars to these principals and other administrators to help cover lost wages. 

“The American Rescue Plan funds that were distributed to Florida to provide assistance to schools have not yet been distributed from the state level. So the question is why not?  And those can be used to cover expenses."

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Psaki says these federal dollars are under the Biden administration’s purview, not the state’s.

“Get out of the way and let public officials, let local officials do their job to keep students safe. This is serious and we're talking about people's lives. And we know based on public health guidelines that even though kids under a certain age are not yet eligible [for vaccines], masks can have a huge impact.”

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Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to maintain it is a parent's right to send their child to school unmasked.

The CDC reported 94,000 kids got sick with COVID last week in the US, accounting for 15 percent of new cases.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.