Saying that “safe return to in-person instruction requires that school districts be able to protect the health and safety of students and educators,” the letter from Sec. Cardona expresses that he is “deeply concerned about Florida’s July 30 Executive Order prohibiting school districts from adopting universal masking policies.”
In recognizing the threat to both students and teachers, and the way that some school districts have put themselves on the line by defying DeSantis, Cardona puts this sentence in bold:
The Department stands with these dedicated educators who are working to safely reopen schools and maintain safe in-person instruction.
Then Cardona notes that the American Rescue Plan Act that Biden ushered through in the first month of his administration includes over $7 billion in funds for education in Florida, as well as the authority to address issues concerning the ability of schools to operate safely during the pandemic. That means, writes Cardona, that he is prepared to “pay the full salaries of educators (including superintendents) and school board members, regardless of whether the state moves to withhold some of their salary …”
Cardona goes on to note that the ARP required Florida to make funds available to school districts by May 24. It didn’t. In fact, DeSantis and the Florida Dept. of Education decided to starve schools of funding to help keep them on a short leash when it came to following DeSantis unreasonable and deadly rules. So, if any school district wants to use those funds, Cardona will see that they go straight to the schools, not the state.
In the immortal words of every man, woman, and unvaccinated child who just dropped a mic … Boom.