Republicans take to mask wars as virus surges in red states

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Republicans are battling school districts in their own states’ urban, heavily Democratic areas over whether students should be required to mask up as they head back to school. That is reigniting ideological divides over face coverings even as the latest coronavirus surge ravages the reddest, most unvaccinated parts of the nation. The fights have begun to eclipse debate over vaccine requirements. And they come as some Democratic-run states are moving in the opposite direction, reimposing masking rules for classrooms and other public spaces after easing them in recent months, when it seemed the pandemic might be waning. 

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