We've Asked Kids to Show up — Congress Must Do The Same

ByLoren Cox

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems everything is up for debate. We’ve all watched as Americans – divided in this moment – have politicized mask wearing, testing and social distancing — and yet the pandemic is still growing. Against this backdrop, we’ve repeatedly heard the calls that schools must reopen for our economy to reopen more fully, placing the burden of a global pandemic and all of its consequences on our children. Policymakers are asking our children to show up to schools that were already underfunded before the pandemic, and that are now ill-equipped to physically reopen safely.

Congress is asking more of our children – to show up and save our economy – than they are willing to give of themselves. As students return to school, Congress has gone on recess, ignoring calls to fund the needs of schools across the country. And while the House has come back amid outcries about the U.S. Postal Service, I question why they didn’t feel that same obligation to the more than 56 million public school students and 3 million teachers across the country.

We’ve already seen K-12 schools and higher education institutions being forced to shut down within days or weeks of reopening because of COVID-19 outbreaks. We’ve heard from parents and teachers that they are not comfortable having children return to in-person classes. And we’ve heard directly from students about their fears of attending school this year. And yet all of those cries were not loud enough to keep Congress in session to pass the next stimulus bill, including critical funding for education to help make in-person schooling safer and virtual schooling better.

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