Feds probing whether Texas' ban on school mask mandates violates rights of students with disabilities

click to enlarge Masked students line up to register at Holmes High School in San Antonio. - TWITTER / @NISD
Twitter / @NISD
Masked students line up to register at Holmes High School in San Antonio.
The federal government is investigating whether the Texas Education Agency is preventing schools from serving students with disabilities by prohibiting districts from having mask mandates, the Texas Tribune reports.

The U.S. Department of Education launched the probe Tuesday after the TEA updated its guidance on school mask rules, according to the Tribune. The state agency said districts can't require masks to halt the spread of COVID-19, noting that courts have upheld an order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott barring local entities from making such mandates.

In a letter to the TEA, the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights said the investigation will center on whether the state's guidance violates federal law by preventing students with disabilities who face greater risks from COVID-19 from safely learning on campus, the Tribune reports.

Prior to announcing its Texas investigation, the Education Department launched probes into prohibitions on campus mask mandates in at least five other states, according to the story.

The TEA didn't respond to the Tribune's request for information on how it will enforce the order or if every district in the state has been made aware of the change.

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