Education Secretary tells White House reopening schools is 'challenging for all'

US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, pictured here at the White House in March, says there "is much work to be done" to continue the progress being made on school reopenings nationwide.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – The United States Secretary of Education sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Commissioner of Education Dr. Penny Schwinn stating that the governor's recent executive order may be infringing on federal laws. 

In the letter, Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona laid out that Tennessee's actions of blocking school districts from enforcing mask mandates may infringe on the districts' authority to keep students and educators safe, which is required by federal law. 

Cardona wrote that he had learned about the recent executive order "prohibiting local educational agencies (LEAs) from adopting requirements for the universal wearing of masks" and said the order was concerning to the Dept. of Education.

"The Department stands with the dedicated educators who are working to safely reopen schools and maintain safe in-person instruction," Cardona said.

Cardona said his office is looking to partner with the governor and Schwinn's teams "on any efforts to further our shared goals of protecting the health and safety of students and educators."

News4 reached out to the governor's and Schwinn's offices for comment.

Governor Lee released a statement Thursday afternoon on Twitter reiterating his statement that "Parents know better than the government what’s best for their children." 

Read the full letter from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona below: is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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