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VERIFY: US Department of Education didn’t ask teachers to have legal wills ready, but some doing so anyway

A viewer asked if the Department of Education sent an advisory to teachers to write their wills as they prepare to return to schools amid the coronavirus outbreak.

National news outlets have reported that teachers started writing their legal wills as they prepare to return to in-person teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the reports, viewer Rebecca M. asked VERIFY if the U.S. Department of Education sent an advisory to teachers telling them to prepare a legal will before the start of the 2020-21 school year.

The VERIFY team reached out to the Education Department to clarify.

THE QUESTION

Did the Department of Education send an advisory for teachers to have a will ready before starting the school year? 

THE ANSWER

No. The department's deputy press secretary said federal officials did not make that recommendation to teachers.

WHAT WE FOUND 

Eli Mansour, deputy press secretary at the Department of Education, told VERIFY in a statement that it “has not and would not make such a recommendation. The science shows that returning to school can be done safely, and the CDC has released guidelines to help schools do just that.”

Credit: AP
People attend an Utah Safe Schools Mask-In urging the governor's leadership in school reopening during a rally Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Parents and teachers rallied at the Utah State Capitol Thursday morning to urge schools to enforce mask wearing and to implement other safety policies recommended by health officials as the state prepares to reopen classrooms this fall. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A recent statement from the National Education Association explains that teachers around the country are feeling unsafe about going back to work in places like Florida and California, which has prompted law firms to offer free legal help for teachers suing their states.

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As of Friday, these legal actions and decisions are being made under a personal choice or life conditions, because there hasn’t been any official recommendation or guidance from authorities to prepare a will.  

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