U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is advocating for Washington leaders to provide $175 billion in education funds to cover the costs of schools opening up safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the federal officials do not come through, as they have not on the final passage of the HEROES Act, taxes could be raised at the city and state level to cover the cost of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in schools on top of everyday operations.
According to Schumer, if the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) is not signed into law, New York could lose up 4.5 million childcare slots and 1.9 million education jobs.
“Everyone wants our schools to reopen, but the federal government must lead the way by funding the safety measures that would open the doors of New York and the nation’s schools in a way that helps ensure the coronavirus does not needlessly spread or infect teachers, kids or staff,” Schumer said. “Without federal dollars to cover the massive costs of PPE, barriers, cleaning supplies and more, local school budgets across the city, Long Island and beyond would be crushed, local taxes could rise and some schools might simply stay closed—and we do not want that.”
This demand comes a day after President Donald Trump announced that schools across the nation that do not conform to federal demands to reopen could lose federal funding. On Sunday morning, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos doubled-down on this commitment to have K-12 schools reopened in the fall stressing the importance of education itself. with no mention of hazards or expenses incurred by COVID-19.
“We know that children get the virus at a far lower rate than any other part of the population, and, again, there is nothing in data that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them,” DeVos said on CNN’s State of the Union. “In fact, it’s a matter of their health and well-being that they be back in school.”
Devos’ comments seemed to neglect the CDC’s recommendations that even children should not meet in groups; even if they are not at risk themselves, children may carry COVID-19 and pass it on to a relative or school staff. DeVos said schools need to turn to mask use and sanitizing products.
According to multiple reports, DeVos did not have recommendations as to how schools should proceed with starting considering guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.