New COVID-19 Senate bill provides relief for students and educators

As Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ignored the resurgence of COVID-19 and shut down the Senate for two weeks, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act to help reopen schools and campuses safely and save educators’ jobs. The bill would provide $175 billion for K-12 schools, $132 billion for higher education, and $4 billion for the E-Rate program to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap—all NEA priorities.

The bill would also provide $12 billion for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and prevent Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from using taxpayer dollars for voucher schemes instead of the public schools that educate 9 out of 10 students, as Congress intended. Learn more about McConnell and his enablers—five senators standing in the way of helping public schools now. And tell your senators to push for immediate action on the next coronavirus package.

Email your senators and tell them to take action to reopen schools and campuses safely and save educators’ jobs.


147 responses to “New COVID-19 Senate bill provides relief for students and educators

  1. I got COVID from school as a teacher being overly cautious. My spouse works in a district with 90% in person, little social distancing and masks not kept covering faces. People are still dying. I fear every day going in. People say the children need it. I say I can teach digitally better. School isn’t for social time. My safety is just as important if not more.

  2. Safety comes first. We need to continue with distance learning not face to face during this deadly pandemic. Public Schools need funding and resources to continue with distance learning.

  3. As a 30 year educator, I have witnessed the ebb and flow of strong educational times and fiscally strapped educational times. Between the high cost of COVID-19 safety measures in schools and the devastating economical impact now facing school districts, we are in the hardest period of education I have personally experienced. And who suffers the most but the children, to whom we owe our greatest allegiance. Please make education funding a top priority so that we can be equipped to survive and thrive during this pandemic. The professionals in education are being asked to rise to the challenge of creating new paradigms for home and school learning with steep learning curves for all. Empower us to be successful.

  4. It’s vital that public schools receive the funds they need to face this pandemic. These are unprecedented days that require unprecedented measures. I urge you to support this COVID-19 Education relief bill. Our students’ futures and well-being are too important to be cast aside and given just whatever is left over. Make schools a priority!

    1. Who will we be educating if they are all dead in a few weeks? Tax money is public funds. They CANNOT go to private schools!! DeVos is a nightmare for public schools. Stop her!! Put the funding where it was contracted to go: PUBLIC SCHOOLS!!

  5. Education is very important,but lives are more important. If the schools are opened, please keep all safe.

  6. Federal funds must be made available to school districts to hire more teachers and obtain
    additional space so that classes will have fewer spaces so they can be 6 to 8 feet apart.

    1. My question is: where are you planning to put those teachers? Schools structures are old and classrooms are small. There are no leftover classrooms for almost no one. Also, what will happen with those teacher when this is over?

  7. Support public education by providing additional funds so we can open schools up safely for all children!

    1. Hello – I paid my property tax and I did not get a rebate because kids were not in school. Some virtual school experiences were beyond pathetic. Sending out websites to watch films online is not educating our kids. The only response or how to “help” our education system is to spend more money. That’s an easy answer. Spend money – sorry – you have tons of money – figure out HOW to spend that money you are given to you. to actually help kids. Not to PENSIONS!!!

      1. You act like teachers are making any of these choices. Maybe that’s the problem. They can only work with the tools they’ve been given. Just like New York doctors can only work with the medical tools they’ve been given. Many teachers and districts weren’t prepared to go from traditional education (which hasn’t changed in decades) to COVID education. So training, technology and still providing necessary services to students requires money. Money to education always seems to be the first to be cut when balancing budgets.

    2. I understand the economy cannot fully open without schools opening, therefore we need to do it right with all the necessary precautions to keep our teachers and students safe. Imagine the economy if outbreaks are rampant throughout schools. Our society has failed our schools over and over again. It’s time to step up now.

  8. Thank you for this. But public and private preschools and daycares are already closing. Please include funds for them.

  9. They can give money to thousands of businesses and the nations biggest and most important business they can’t assist in this crisis. It is time these Republicans start representing the American people and not just big business. Step up and protect our future and the cornerstone of our democracy,

  10. Schools that have remote capabilities should be funded and encouraged to provide at home education for families and teachers that do not feel safe to return to school. Education is important once public health is restored and people can work and attend schools without the need for masks. Returning to school during an active pandemic puts teachers and staff at a high risk for infection.

    1. Opening classrooms without proven safety measures in place will put family member’s lives at risk. Many families live in large units because rents are so high. The curve must be flattened before kids return to school buildings. Students need access tablets and the internet to continue their education.

      1. Agree with you there. The safety procedures being talked about at the elementary school where I work are minimal. Parents can decide about masks , no 6′ distancing within the classroom, no masks at lunch and very little distancing at recess… How is this safe? People in other countries followed safety measures and flattened their curve before sending kids back to school and once back, put many measures in place.
        Spend the money on access to technology and keep us all safe!

  11. Please continue to fight for the funds to help our schools, we are in desperate need of these funds to allow all children the same opportunities to learn.

  12. Support our students so we have a future! Support our teachers so they can do the most important job in the world… teach our future leaders, doctors, nurses , policeman, factory workers, mechanics, dentist, plumbers, electrician and all other jobs!

    1. For years … teachers have made lemonade out of lemons but COVID-19 has made the typical ask of teachers nearly impossible. We must secure funding to deal with the impact of the pandemic. You MUST pass the HEROES Act.

  13. Support for Education from now and the future generations to come. Do not delay! Do the right think.

  14. Please make sure our students are able to get the best education. All coming in to the schools should be masked for all saftey.

  15. Teachers are longing to return to the classrooms to the job that they love, nurturing and guiding our young people into the world and their future. They cannot do that safely without your help. Let’s make our schools safe to reopen!

  16. Take action to ensure there is for funding as we consider re-opening schools. We would also like an approach where there is a team that includes teachers, paraprofessionals and all staff who work on the front lines to be a part of the decision making and how the money is spent. Thank you for everything you do on behalf of public education. p.s. We would also love a secretary of education who supports public education and doesn’t try to destroy it.

  17. We must not sit on our hands! The children of this nation our the hope for the future, but they need support now.

  18. Sending us back into the school house without masks is reckless and complicit in each death that results. Throwing your hands up and denying responsibility is weak. Decision making for the people is more than a fancy chair and title.. The weight of working for your constituents comes first. Politics has no business colluding itself in public safety. Provide safe conditions for our children and teachers. Listen to science. Protect us with funding that works in our favor.

  19. K-12 public schools need to reopen in mid-August and desperately need monetary support from Congress to make it safe for students and teachers. Elementary students in grades K-4 need to be in the schools to be able to learn effectively. Special Educations students of most or all ages also need to be in the schools. Additional teachers and aides are necessary for ensuring necessary social distancing. Also, each of the students may need a small computer to use in school and at home. Schools need additional funds from Congress to afford safe materials and a computer for each child. Distance education works for most Middle School and High School students, but additional funds from Congress are needed to make the best educational distance learning methods, materials and computers available to all students and school districts equitably. Take action to reopen public schools safely.

  20. Please continue to support educators and students as you have always done. It is indeed a pleasure to vote for you.

    1. Any help is much appreciated. We are being asked to maintain two classroom simultaneously, in-person and virtual for students who do not feel safe reentering the classroom. This is double the work. We need some help.

    2. Please continue to support educators and students. During this time schools will need additional resources to provide a safe learning environment for our students and educators.

    3. I am an at-risk classroom teacher, and I am terrified because we can’t provide safety to our staff, student, and families using existing buildings. We are not designed for contagion control. We need to be virtual until vaccines are available and effective.

    4. Yes, these are difficult times for all. . . and more so for educators who are trying so ‘hard’ to provide an interesting / exciting/needed education for their students. I retired after 52 full time years and 8 substitute)
      The students need to be ‘in the presence’ of their teachers in some way. ALL students shoiuld expect the needed materials / tech etc. to facilitate the ‘distance’ learning which seems to be the exectation in most schools. all students should be in the actual preseence of their teadhers at least minimum 1 day a week but hopefully a longer time. These are new / different times for all. We must continue to do what helps teachers teach and support the students. It is about the continued education / progress of the students knowledge and support of the teachers throughout. WE CANNOT CHEAT ANY CHILD OUT OF AN EDUCATION. . IT IS NEEDED FOR ‘LIFE’

    5. Please continue to support educators and students as you have always done. It is indeed a pleasure to vote for you.

    6. Please support the future of this great nation by voting for this new COVID-19 Senate Bill. It is a pleasure to work with you in this endeavor.

  21. And once this relief gets passed, we need to restructure the school year for the future.

    We may need to rethink the schoolyear calendar which was based on agricultural practices of the past. Year-round school (there are many models 45:15, choice of one quarter off; flexible, shorter school week coordinated with business work week; mixed school and business models that are virtual and at site; salaries commensurate with the length of time one teaches in that year; more teaching positions; reduced class size as the student body is being distributed throughout different parts of the year; especially, benefits the most vulnerable students that lose much over the long summer vacation.

    1. I think this is the perfect time to rethink, restructure and fully fund public education in America. Put resources in the classrooms, and support America’s teachers. We are not the enemy, but rather students best advocates. Therefore include teachers in all conversations about education.

    2. I couldn’t agree more! Many years ago, I had the good fortune of teaching at a single track, year-round school in southern California. It was not only good for the students, it was good for me! I felt much less burned out at the end of the school year.
      Thank you for bringing this up.

    3. Please do not open schools till Covid numbers significantly drop and new cases are almost non existent. Instead of using this money to open schools, stay with 100% distance learning and use the money to provide families with children, immediate cash for a babysitter to stay at home with their children 13 years old and younger while the parents are at work! Having 1 adult in your own home is much safer then the high possibility of being exposed to Covid daily by multiple school staff members and a classroom and school bus full of other unmasked students !!!

  22. Schools should open when there is no longer a risk to the students, teachers, and faculty.
    There have many too many instances where children have been sent to school sick and the parent was contacted to come and pick the child up. At times, no parent showed up for hours.
    With this pandemic, that puts everyone at the school at risk, and the parent could easily state they were not aware that the child was sick.. The risk is too great and the consequences too severe to take a chance..

  23. I am a Special Education teacher and we need more support to open schools safely or to continue digital education at home.

  24. We need to take action and support the learning of all students and their educational goals, as well as provide job security and support for educators.

  25. Our educators are one of our most precious resources in this society – the security of their jobs and their ability to ensure a safe environment for our children to learn and thrive in should be a top priority in our government.

  26. If you are going to give vouchers to charter schools and private schools, it is essential to level the playing field: i.e, require them to accept all students–medically, physically, mentally and behaviorally challenged, and not be able to tell parents they can’t give them services that the public school is obligated to give. The educational requirement for the teachers must also be equal. Those schools should also be obligated to take the same tests as public school students and have the results published. The disparity between the requirements are so unequal that there is no way our tax dollars should be funding charter and private schools. It is just another way to allow some individuals to make a lot of money and in no way actually are held accountable for decent education for all.

  27. We need to secure the safety, education, and learning for all students. Public schools need continuous funding to continue its work and provide FAPE to their students.

    DeVous has no business taking any funds from public schools or making any decisions pertaining to Education since she has no degree in education. Funds for public schools belong and need to remain solely for public schools and not to private or charter schools.

    1. It is time for our students and educators to be supported! Too often funds are cut in the areas that need it the most.

    2. As an educator for 23 years, I believe something must be done to ensure the safety of teachers’ lives and students’ lives. Otherwise, we are being thrown into the frontline of battle.

    3. If teachers , students and administrators are required to return to school in the Fall, it must be safe.

      Teachers and students live with families with vulnerable older and physically compromised conditions.

      Sending us back to the classroom without extensive safety and accountability by the school would be disastrous.

    4. It is so important to provide relief for students and educators, when the schools reopen. Let’s make it happen!!

      1. Please only open schools if safety for all students and staff will be in place. Remember we are not there to be daycare providers. Help families to be able to keep their children home if that is what is recommended by health professionals. Do not make us choose our safety and health over our jobs and students. That is an impossible decision.

        1. Nicole is exactly right! Kids need to learn and as teachers, our heart WANTS to be at school with our kids. However, the primary reason to BE at school should not be to have a place for kids while parents go back to work.

          I keep hearing “kids can’t get COVID or pass it on, it should be safe to go back”…well, I’m here to tell you that educators CAN get it. As an elementary teacher AND a parent, I fear for return to the classroom. If we return to the classroom, I will be exposed to at least 40 kids a day (plus any adults I come in contact with), and my son would be exposed to 25-30 per class for 7 classes! One of us is SURE to bring something home! My husband and I are hovering around 50 and are worried about the risk, but we can’t afford for me not to work.

          Keep the Teachers and Students SAFE AND FUND the school districts! Teachers would still be teaching online, so districts still need funding!!!!

        2. I agree with you, Nicole. We as teachers are asked/expected to go above and beyond on a regular basis, but this is where we need to draw the line. We are NOT babysitters, and should not be exposed to poorly-planned return protocols and students who are too young to be compliant. I’m not talking just elementary schools either! I’m in a middle school and those students are willfully non-compliant in many ways every day – I don’t expect them to follow all the health guidelines.

      2. We must provide direct learning with the teacher for all students a portion of the time. We don’t want to be just going through the motions. Our children, whatever the age, Necessary for an education. to be able to survive ‘life’. This is not going to be easy yet it is absolutely necessary. We can’t sit back and complain we must step up and be part of what is needed for all students’ education. Yes, it will be different, but it is up tpThat all of us to figure out how that will work.Yes

      3. Children and educators need to be safe! We can explore safe options. We don’t want to rush into a situation that spreads the pandemic and causes further loss of life.

    5. Educators and students need help getting schools going again in this pandemic- an enormous task. Act now.

    6. Please see that teachers don’t receive to short end of the stick, we deserve better and we have families too. There should be no furloughed days, no reduce in pay and our health should be considered. In fact we should receive hazardous pay since we are essential workers.

  28. We must do this correctly. The virus is raging and not stopping. Your desire to get your kids out of the house does not make the virus any less serious. No rush to throw everyone back into school. This endangers teachers and students & families. Slow it down. I have kids that don’t want to go back because they are scared of getting sick or bringing it home. Give options to continue education from a distance.

  29. As a kindergarten teacher and mom of a middle schooler, I see the need for support right now, more than ever. Educators are being tasked with figuring out how to meet the huge needs the pandemic has created. If we are to support our communities’ education, social/ emotional needs, mental health and safety- we need funding. This crisis is too big to for us to handle alone. Thank you.

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