The Department of Education has launched a civil rights investigation into whether states that have banned mask mandates are discriminating against students with disabilities who could be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
The department's Office for Civil Rights has opened directed investigations in five states — Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.
“The Department has heard from parents from across the country — particularly parents of students with disabilities and with underlying medical conditions — about how state bans on universal indoor masking are putting their children at risk and preventing them from accessing in-person learning equally,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
The department said the Office for Civil Rights has not opened investigations in Florida, Texas, Arkansas, or Arizona because their bans on indoor mask mandates are not currently being enforced.
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