However we are able to do extra. Shortly earlier than taking workplace, I set an bold however achievable purpose of opening most Okay-8 faculties by the top of my first 100 days. I’ve mentioned all alongside that this can be a nationwide crucial — one that may solely be achieved if Congress supplies states and communities with the assets they should get it finished safely by the American Rescue Plan.
It’s also a purpose we are able to meet if we observe the science. At present, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, the CDC, has supplied the most effective accessible scientific proof on the way to reopen faculties safely.
These scientific tips inform us that our faculties are safer when we’ve applicable distancing in lecture rooms and on faculty buses, when masks are worn constantly and correctly, when handwashing happens usually, and once we are capable of successfully reply to instances by testing and get in touch with tracing, and once we observe different advisable steps. To satisfy these tips, some faculties will want extra academics and help employees to make sure smaller class sizes, extra buses and bus drivers to move our children safely, extra areas to conduct in-person instruction, and extra protecting tools, faculty cleansing providers, and bodily alterations to cut back the danger of unfold of the virus.
These wants value cash. However the price of preserving our kids, households, and educators secure is nothing when put next with the price of inaction. At present, a whole era of younger folks is on the point of being set again as much as a yr or extra of their studying. We’re already seeing rising psychological well being considerations due partly to isolation. Instructional disparities which have all the time existed develop wider every day that our faculties stay closed and distant studying isn’t the identical for each pupil. Our educators are frontline staff who’re doing the whole lot they’ll to guard and educate our college students, regardless of an absence of assets and as districts face finances crises that threat schooling jobs. Mothers — and dads — are exiting the workforce in astonishing numbers in an effort to take care of and handle the varsity expertise for his or her kids at residence, hindering their very own alternatives and additional undermining the well being of our economic system.
We now have sacrificed a lot within the final yr. However science tells us that if we help our kids, educators, and communities with the assets they want, we are able to get children again to highschool safely in additional components of the nation sooner.
When my Secretary of Training is confirmed, I’ll job him with working alongside faculty directors, educators, and oldsters to soundly speed up the method of faculty reopenings. As many states proceed to observe the CDC’s suggestion to prioritize academics for vaccination, I urge all states to observe swimsuit.
And given the irreversible prices of inaction, Congress must cross the American Rescue Plan instantly — for our kids, our households, our group, and our nation.
We all know what we have to do.
We have to transfer quick.