Education Department opens investigations on states prohibiting school masking requirements
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States with laws that prohibit indoor masking requirements, including at schools, might discriminate against students at risk for severe illness if they contract the COVID-19 virus, according to an Aug. 30 news release from the U.S. Department of Education.
The agency’s Office for Civil Rights opened directed investigations Monday in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah. Florida, Texas, Arkansas and Arizona also ban universal indoor masking, according to the news release, but the agency has not opened investigations in those states because the laws are not being enforced.
According to the news release, the investigations will focus on whether the states are in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects students with disabilities from discrimination. The agency will also determine whether state prohibitions on universal indoor masking laws violate Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits disability discrimination by public entities.