Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Monday admitted that although he’s not fond of wearing masks like the rest of us, mask mandates are necessary to keep schools open.
Appearing on CBS, Cardona took aim at the politics surrounding mask-wearing as a mitigation strategy to reduce the spread of the coronavirus among students and staff.
“It’s sad to me that poor policies and political agendas are going to get in the way of those kids getting on the field. We need to follow the mitigation strategies that we know work,” Cardona said. “Get the politics out of this, let the education leaders do their jobs.”
Cardona then admitted that he has “mask fatigue” himself, but stressed that the mask-wearing is necessary in order to keep schools open as the Delta variant prompts spikes of COVID-19 cases nationwide.
“To be honest with you, I wish we didn’t have to wear masks. I know my own children — they don’t want to wear masks,” Cardona said. “I have mask fatigue myself, but if it means giving my children the opportunity to be in school, I’m for it.”
Cardona’s latest remarks follow President Biden’s announcement last week that the education secretary would have his department’s civil rights office probe states such as Florida and Texas that are banning school mask mandates.
Cardona reiterated the administration’s support for schools that are moving forward with mask mandates despite bans issued by Republican governors. During an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Cardona stressed that schools “do not have to get the green light from (their) governor” to access COVID relief funds to reimburse any financial losses their districts might face for defying Republican governors’ mask mandate bans.
Despite threats from Republican governors such as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — whose office has threatened funding cuts against school districts that buck his orders — local school districts have refused to reverse course.
Even after Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an ultimatum last week to school officials in Broward and Alachua Counties — warning that they had two days to get rid of their district’s mask mandates or school board members would start losing their monthly pay — officials in both counties refused to back down on their mandatory mask requirements.
Watch Cardona’s remarks below: