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Biden Administration Cleans Arizona’s Covid Aid for Anti-Mask Policies | Arizona

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The Biden administration is threatening to recover millions of dollars in Covid-19 relief funds from Arizona because the state has discouraged families from following federal guidelines that recommend wearing masks in schools.

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has been at odds with the Biden administration for months over the use of aid funds. Other Republican governors across the country have also tried using the funding for measures – such as tax cuts – that are unrelated to the pandemic and are not allowed under the terms of the grants.

Two Arizona state programs to help schools and students have diverted funding from jurisdictions with mask requirements. The state’s Education Plus-Up grant program provides $ 163 million in funding to schools, but districts that require face coverings are not eligible. And its Covid-19 educational recovery benefit program provides up to $ 7,000 to help parents leave school districts that require children to wear face covers.

The Treasury Department warned in a letter Friday that the state has 60 days to remove the anti-masking provisions before the federal government recovers the relief money, and it threatened to suspend the next tranche of funding as well. aid.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the mask be worn universally in schools to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“By discouraging families and school districts from following these guidelines, the conditions referenced above undermine efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19,” the Treasury Department wrote. “Accordingly, these school programs as currently structured are ineligible uses of (Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds).”

Arizona has already received about half of the $ 4.2 billion allocated to the state under the 2021 coronavirus relief bill.

More details soon …

Biden Administration Cleans Arizona’s Covid Aid for Anti-Mask Policies | Arizona

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