First look: Education secretary taking back-to-school bus tour

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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is taking a bus tour across the Midwest to reassure parents and teachers as safety measures in schools surrounding the pandemic remain a political flashpoint.

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why it matters: The Biden administration is grappling with how to maintain classroom learning while controlling the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Cases largely linked to the delta version are on the rise, and some governors have barred local districts from mandatory masks.

  • Most students nationwide are returning to school in person after the pandemic, but students under the age of 12 are ineligible for vaccination.

description: The secretary will visit five states in the Midwest starting September 20, stopping at 10 schools and universities over four days.

  • Destinations include Eau Claire, Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Palatine and Chicago, Illinois; Kendallville, Indiana; Toledo, Ohio; and Mount Pleasant, Lansing, Detroit and Canton, Michigan, according to a release shared with Nerdshala.
  • The secretary will visit students from preschool to college age.
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What are they saying: “This year’s return to school is more special than ever, as many of our nation’s students are cut off from their peers, teachers, classrooms, school communities and learning routines,” Cardona said in a statement.

Background: Cardona has sparked a debate over wearing masks in schools, and the Department of Education has launched an investigation into mask-mandated restrictions in several states, including Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

  • The department will use a component of legislation that protects students with disabilities from discrimination and empowers all a free public education.
  • “As surprised as I am, the president is astonished that there are adults who are blind to their blindness, that there are people who are implementing policies that are putting students and staff at risk,” Cardona said. told the Times.
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