SCHUMER REVEALS: WITHOUT FED FUNDS HUDSON VALLEY SCHOOLS MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SAFELY REOPEN; COSTS OF PPE, PHYSICAL BARRIERS & OTHER SUPPLIES COULD BADLY DRAIN LOCAL RESOURCES, MAKING IT MUCH HARDER FOR HUDSON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO OPEN SAFELY; SENATOR PUSHES PLAN TO COVER THOSE COSTS WITH FED DOLLARS IN ‘COVID-4’ & ALLOW SCHOOLS TO SAFELY REOPEN
Schumer Says Local Schools, Like Those Across The Hudson Valley, Have Some State & Federal Guidelines To Reopen Safely Amid COVID-19 BUT Not Enough Fed Funds To Afford Them; Pushes New Plan To Inject $175B Into Nation’s K-12 Schools To Meet The Need
Without Fed Funds To Cover Massive Cost Of PPE, Barriers, Cleaning Supplies & More, Local Budgets Would Be Crushed, Local Taxes Could Rise & Some Schools Might Stay Closed
Schumer: It Would Simply Be Nails On The Chalkboard If A Lack Of Fed Funds Kept Dutchess County Schools From Safely Reopening Schools
Citing COVID-19 costs as too big for New York school districts to carry alone and alongside incoming Superintendent of Hyde Park Central School District, Aviva Kafka, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that without specific federal funds, Hudson Valley school districts might not be able to reopen safely come fall.
“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 schools throughout the Hudson Valley region in a way that helps ensure the coronavirus does not needlessly spread or infect teachers, kids or staff,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
Schumer explained that this Monday the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released a framework of guidance to help school districts as they plan to reopen, whether that occurs in person, remotely, or a combination of both. Under this new framework, teachers, students, and staff in Westchester County’s 47, Dutchess County’s 13, and Putnam County’s 6 school districts will be required to wear appropriate face coverings and develop cleaning and disinfecting procedures for the school in accordance with state and CDC guidance. Westchester County had over 145,000 students, Dutchess County had over 38,000 students, and Putnam County had over 13,700 students in K-12 public schools as of June 2019 according to NYSED reports.
“Without federal dollars to cover the massive costs of PPE, barriers, cleaning supplies and more, local school budgets across the Hudson Valley would be crushed, local taxes could rise and some schools might simply stay closed—and we do not want that. That’s why as Hudson Valley school districts, like Hyde Park, work hard to plan for the fall we need to take action in ‘COVID-4’ and commit $175 billion to the goal of safely reopening K-12 schools for all,” Schumer added.
Schumer said costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), physical barriers and other supplies at schools, like those used for cleaning, could badly drain local resources, making it much harder for New York districts to open safely and ensure the collective protection of kids, teachers and staff. He announced a new legislative push to include much-needed assistance in a “Corona-4” legislative package. His plan would work to substantially cover the aforementioned costs with federal dollars, allowing schools to safely reopen. Schumer is pushing for $175 billion dollars for K-12 schools across the country, and says New York would see a massive chunk of that allotment.
Schumer’s plan, crafted alongside U.S. Senator Patty Murray, was just introduced as the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), and includes other efforts as well, each critical to supporting childcare and education amid the pandemic. Schumer explained that without major help from the federal government, New York would be devastated and the nation would risk losing 4.5 million child care slots and losing 1.9 million education jobs, exacerbating students’ learning loss.
“The bottom line here is that the coronavirus brought with it unprecedented health and economic challenges for students, families, educators, and learning institutions across the country—challenges disproportionately felt by students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities, and more,” Schumer added. “So, action is needed now to save teaching jobs, preserve millions of child care slots, and ensure every student has access to a safe, quality education.”
Local school officials showed support for Senator Schumer’s efforts.
“The teachers within the Hyde Park Central School District have been on the frontlines of this crisis, quickly taking on the unprecedented task of transitioning our students to virtual learning from the classroom. As we plan for this fall the health and safety of our teachers, staff, students, and community members are top priority,” said Dr. Greer Rychcik, Superintendent of Hyde Park Central School District. “At the heart of any reopening plan is PPE and Senator Schumer’s proposal will bring vital financial support to our district to improve the quality of our programs.”
Highlighted aspects of the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) Schumer will fight for in COVID-4 include:
- $50 billion for a Child Care Stabilization Fund, to ensure that child care providers can stay open, educators can continue getting paid, and working families get tuition relief;
- $1.5 billion to address and prevent child abuse and neglect, to support the child welfare workforce and to fund community-based prevention programs that strengthen families;
- $345 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, including:
- $175 billion for K-12 schools, to help schools address learning loss, implement public health protocols, and provide quality education to all students—whether they open in-person, remotely, or a hybrid of both;
- $132 billion for higher education, to help colleges and universities deliver a quality education for their students, implement public health protocols, and provide emergency financial aid to students for expenses like food, housing, child care, and technology;
- $33 billion for a Governor’s Fund, to allow governors to allocate funds for needed educational services to areas of their states hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
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