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COVID-19 relief package doesn’t go far enough

Shortly before adjourning for good, the 116th Congress provided a $900 billion down payment on coronavirus relief. The package is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it provides some relief for students, educators, and working families. On the other, it does not include state and local aid that would help avoid laying off educators, firefighters, and other essential public servants—a top NEA priority. Other shortcomings include the lack of dedicated funding for the E-Rate program to help close the homework gap and the failure to extend the moratorium on student-loan payments that expires on Jan. 31.

Key provisions include:

  • $82 billion to help equip schools and campuses to reopen safely and address budget shortfalls, as well as address personnel costs; $2.75 billion is earmarked for private schools with restrictions and public accountability requirements
  • One-time $600 payments for eligible adults and dependent children
  • Federal unemployment benefits of $300 per week through March 31 for eligible workers
  • $7 billion for coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution
  • Increases Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15 percent and expands the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program for families with children in childcare programs and meals for seniors
  • Tax credits for private sector employers that provide paid emergency sick leave—a half-measure, at best, that does not guarantee workers who are sick or exposed to COVID-19 can safely stay home without losing pay

7 responses to “COVID-19 relief package doesn’t go far enough

  1. What about those of us that have student debt but also have not received pay because of no more leave as I have preexisting conditions that put me at high risk? I have had a long term sub since September in my classroom when our district went against ADHS metrics and in-person teaching resumed. I signed a contract to teach from home but my district will not honor it as an ADA accommodation. Here I sit with no pay or accommodation even though I am very capable of teaching virtually!

  2. $600 is better than nothing for sure, however it doesn’t provide enough immediate relief to individuals or families to help them replace the shortfall to sustain for the short or long term…

  3. $600 doesn’t do a lot to help people with no job. Even those with jobs making $75,000 or less don’t get a lot of help. It is a down payment on a bigger better payment and programs that need to follow.

    1. Because the cost of living has substantially increased since my 2011 retirement as a school counselor, a need for a 2021 stimulus check would benefit other school personnel retirees and me. What is of equal importance is that the elderly need a considerable increase in social security benefits to maintain quality living standards.

      United States Congress, please help!

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