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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that school districts in states with mask mandate bans can still access federal funds for their school reopenings.

Why it matters: A number of states have banned face mask requirements in schools even as the highly contagious Delta variant drives up COVID-19 cases across the country.

  • In Florida and Texas school districts are defying executive orders from their governors that effectively prohibit local officials from mandating masks in classrooms.

The big picture: Cardona said that schools in anti-mask mandate states can still access these federal funds for school reopenings because the funds were approved by Congress.

  • "They do not have to get the green light from the governor to use these funds. They're made available to them," he said.
  • Cardona added that he called the superintendents of Broward and Alachua Counties in Florida to "personally to let them know that."

State of play: Last week the Biden administration said the Department of Education's civil rights office could start investigations if state policies are suspected to be violating students' civil rights by prohibiting masks.

Go deeper

Oct 25, 2021 - Health

DeSantis touts bonuses for unvaccinated police who relocate to Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference Friday in Kissimmee, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans Sunday to "hopefully sign" legislation to provide a $5,000 bonus to police officers who relocate to Florida in order to avoid COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The governor's pledge during an appearance on Fox News comes amid escalating tensions with the Biden administration over its upcoming vaccine requirement for federal workers.

Oct 26, 2021 - Health

New York City police union files lawsuit against vaccine mandate

Combination images of New York City Patrolman Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images/David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

New York City's biggest police union filed a lawsuit Monday against Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all NYC public employees.

Why it matters: The mandate requires all city employees to have had at least one dose by this Friday. They must show proof of vaccination or they'll be placed on unpaid leave. The Police Benevolent Association of New York tweeted Monday that it's seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the mandate, pending the outcome of its lawsuit.

Oct 25, 2021 - World

U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign travelers will be allowed entry to the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 if they can provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a shot authorized by the World Health Organization and a negative test within three days of departure, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: The updated guidance, which exempts children under the age of 18 from the vaccine requirement, is intended to provide further clarity for airlines and foreign nationals who have been restricted from traveling to the U.S. since early 2020.