(AP) — The highly contagious delta variant is fueling a surge in coronavirus cases as students return to classrooms. School districts with hundreds of thousands of kids are increasingly defying Republican leaders who banned school mask mandates in several U.S. states.
The showdowns have drawn in the White House and landed in courtrooms where judges have so far allowed school mask requirements in two states. Florida, Texas, Arizona and Arkansas are among the states where largely GOP leaders have prohibited districts from requiring all kids to wear masks. But with infections on the rise and young children ineligible for vaccinations, districts in blue-leaning urban areas especially are rebelling.