For months, we have been calling on Congress to provide more emergency funding to K-12 public schools to help address challenges they are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources are even more critical now as schools are working to plan and prepare for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, and especially for them to safely reopen for in-person instruction. We cannot wait any longer. For many districts and schools, the new school year begins in just a few, short weeks. Congress must take action and provide these vital resources immediately.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and we cannot downplay the critical nature of the virus. The number one priority of all parents is the health and safety of their children, and it is essential that students return to school in the safest way possible. There cannot be a one-size fits all process for the reopening of schools. Plans for reopening must account for the current impact of the virus on individual communities; follow guidance from health practitioners, infectious disease doctors and public health experts; and include input from parents, families, students, educators and school employees.
“National PTA is calling on Congress to immediately provide more resources for public schools to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and to address the health, safety, infrastructure and physical, psychological, social and emotional needs of students, educators and staff. Our association is also urging Congress to provide dedicated resources to connect students to the internet; emergency funding for family engagement; funding for students with disabilities through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and to increase funding for child nutrition programs to prevent, prepare for and respond to food insecurities related to the pandemic and help schools adapt to new food service and meal protocols as students go back to school.
“It is also critical that Congress in no way attach incentives or conditions on federal funds for the physical reopening of schools or create voucher programs or other mechanisms to funnel public dollars to private schools in the next COVID-19 relief package. Children are the future of our nation, and we must keep them safe. Decisions on how to reopen schools must be based on what is best and safest for children and educators in individual communities. Our public schools are already woefully under-resourced, and they should not have to compromise students’ health and safety to get the funding they need to help every child learn, grow and reach their fullest potential.
“National PTA remains committed to advocating to safeguard the health and safety of our nation’s children and make sure students, families and schools have what they need during this challenging time.”
As part of its effort to advocate for and support students, families, educators and schools amid the pandemic, National PTA is joining other education groups this evening on a webinar about the impact of COVID-19 on children and how we can help mitigate risks for transmission in schools. The webinar will feature physicians from the Infectious Disease Society of America and will take place beginning at 7 p.m. EDT. To register, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NThhMubYR9Sa4Ucdzl6S1Q.