© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An indication advertises free masks to stop the unfold of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), on the downtown bus station in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., June 20, 2020. REUTERS/Cheney Orr
By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo instructed Arizona’s governor on Tuesday that his state couldn’t use federal funds to pay for applications aimed toward undermining face masks necessities in faculties, and mentioned Arizona might lose funding if it didn’t change course.
In a letter to Governor Douglas Ducey, Adeyemo raised issues about two new Arizona state applications funded below the coronavirus aid “American Rescue Plan” which he mentioned would “undermine evidence-based efforts to cease the unfold of COVID-19.”
Adeyemo’s letter comes a month after the U.S. Division of Training opened civil rights investigations https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-education-dept-opens-investigations-5-states-regarding-bans-universal-masking-2021-08-30 to find out whether or not 5 states – Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah – which have banned faculties from requiring masks are discriminating towards college students with disabilities.
One of many Arizona applications affords grants to highschool districts on situation they not require using face coverings throughout tutorial hours. The second offers households a voucher of as much as $7,000 per scholar to cowl tuition or different academic prices at a brand new college that doesn’t require face coverings if the coed’s present college requires them.
Each applications tapped a $350 billion fund established below the American Rescue Plan to mitigate the fiscal results of the COVID-19 emergency, which has killed over 700,000 individuals in the USA, Adeyemo mentioned in his letter.
“A program or service that imposes situations on participation or acceptance of the service that will undermine efforts to cease the unfold of COVID-19 or discourage compliance with evidence-based options for stopping the unfold of COVID-19 just isn’t a permissible use of (such) funds,” he mentioned.
Adeyemo requested Ducey to reply inside 30 days on how Arizona deliberate to return into compliance with the federal necessities, warning that “failure to reply or remediate might end in administrative or different motion.” Such motion included federal efforts to recoup the funds, a Treasury official mentioned.
Florida, Texas and Arkansas have additionally banned obligatory masking orders in faculties. The Training Division left these states and Arizona out of its inquiry as a result of courtroom orders or different actions have paused their enforcement, it mentioned in a information launch.
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