The United States Department of Education has initiated investigations in five states of the country to determine if there are any discriminatory connections to imposing a ban on mask mandates in schools, according to US media reports.
The investigation is being carried out by the Office of Civil Rights, a subsidiary arm of the United States Department of Education.
The federal department of the United States has delivered notification letters to the school officials in five states, which include Oklahoma, Iowa, Utah, Tennessee and South Carolina.
The investigation revolves around the face mask restrictions imposed in multiple states of the country and aims to find if they discriminate against students with disabilities and stop them from “safely returning to in-person education, in violation of federal law”, according to reports from CNN.
States like Texas, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas have also banned a face mask mandate in schools. However, the federal body said that the states have so far not been added to the investigative list as the bans have not been initiated through a “court order or other state actions”.
The United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement earlier this month, “The Department has heard from parents from across the country — particularly parents of students with disabilities and with underlying medical conditions — about how state bans on universal indoor masking are putting their children at risk and preventing them from accessing in-person learning equally”, according to reports from CNN.
United States President Joe Biden spoke to Secretary Miguel about building a safe pathway for students to return to educational institutions and instructed him to “assess all available tools” to make sure students get to continue their studies “without compromising their health or the health of their families or communities”, according to reports from CNN.