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Photo: Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Thursday warned Americans not to let politics get in the way of schools safely reopening.

Why it matters: Some states have barred mask mandates, which Cardona said could impact students, faculty and staff as they return to school this fall. Such policies don't put students' needs "at the center," he added.

  • The spread of the Delta variant has reignited debate about the need for masks and vaccines inside classrooms.

What he's saying: "The tools are there, it's just — are we following the mitigation strategies?" Cardona told reporters during a White House press briefing.

  • "You know what I'm worried about? The adult actions getting in the way of schools safely reopening," he said, noting that such actions "go against" recommendations from the CDC.
    • "Let our educators educate. Let our school leaders lead. And we can get our schools reopened safely. ... Don't be the reason why schools are disrupted, because of the politicization of this effort to reopen schools."
  • Cardona specifically addressed Texas and Florida, both of which have implemented policies that prevent public officials from enforcing mask mandates.
  • He said he wants to work with both states and ensure their students have access to in-person learning.
    • "It's critically important that we have conversations with governors directly, with state chiefs directly," he added. "At the end of the day, we're talking about students being in classrooms. They've suffered enough."

The big picture: The CDC has urged students, faculty and staff to wear masks even if they are vaccinated.

Go deeper

Oct 15, 2021 - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

On the next episode of “Axios on HBO,” Axios national political correspondent Jonathan Swan interviews Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. 

  • Catch the full interview and much more on Sunday, October 17, at 6 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max. 

Parkland shooting victims' families settle suit with school district

A makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2020. Photo: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Families and survivors of a 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., reached a $25 million settlement in their lawsuit against the Broward County school district Monday, per the South Florida SunSentinel.

Why it matters: The deal was reached in the suit over the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the school district won a Florida Supreme Court ruling that could have capped damages at $300,000 in total without approval from the state legislature, AP notes.

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.