Hoeven Presses Administration to End Head Start Covid Mandates

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra pressing the administration to rescind its one-size-fits-all mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Head Start programs. Despite a court injunction, HHS still has in place an interim final rule (IFR) requiring Head Start staff and volunteers to be vaccinated and all staff, volunteers and children age two and older to wear masks, including when they are outside. 

“While there remains a preliminary injunction against the IFR in multiple states – including North Dakota – uncertainty remains for many Head Start providers, parents, and children. Therefore, I once again urge you to immediately rescind the IFR so that families can have access to the important early childhood development and child care services offered through Head Start,” wrote Hoeven. 

The senator outlined staffing challenges facing Head Start providers due to the mandates and the uncertainty caused by the one-size-fits-all rule. Today’s letter continues Hoeven’s efforts to end overreaching COVID mandates. Earlier this year, Hoeven joined Senator John Thune in introducing a resolution to nullify HHS’s vaccine and mask mandates for Head Start programs. The resolution was approved on a bipartisan basis by the Senate in May. 

The full text of the letter can be found here.