Extend the CARES Act and Coronavirus Relief Efforts to Schools in Need

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Sponsor: The Literacy Site

The average school district needs around $1.8 million to make the necessary safety updates under COVID-19.

COVID-19 relief efforts have made a big difference in the financial struggles of Americans impacted by the pandemic. However, they have not done enough to offset the strain of the pandemic on our schools.

School staff and administrators across the country have been working hard to figure out how students can return to some form of “normalcy” in the fall, either through in-person learning or virtual learning. However, both of these options will require significant effort and money to achieve.

At least $200 billion more will be required nationwide to ensure schools can balance their budgets under new federal health and safety guidelines. That's roughly $1.8 million for an average school district of 3,700 students.1

On top of the technology costs associated with virtual learning, schools opting for traditional classroom learning (or a mix of the two) will incur a wide variety of extra costs. Hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectant wipes, no-touch thermometers, masks, sneeze guards, and other personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies are just the tip of the iceberg.2

Schools may need to hire more nurses, aides, and counselors to conduct daily health screenings. More teaching staff may be needed in order to effectively stagger schedules and minimize class sizes.1 Schools may also need to hire janitorial staff to clean and disinfect more regularly. And that’s completely ignoring the extra deep cleaning that will be needed after a case of COVID-19 is confirmed.2

Many schools already faced financial struggles before the onset of COVID-19. Now we’re asking districts to stretch their meager budgets farther and push their employees harder to meet federal criteria for health and safety under the COVID-19 pandemic. The poorest districts and the areas that have borne the brunt of the economic and racial injustices that the pandemic has exacerbated will be the worst affected.1

Without extra funding, some schools may be forced to reopen without the recommended health protocols in place, and others may not be able to open at all. In this instance, children in underfunded districts will likely be forced to learn online, which is considered to be less effective and will lead to students lagging behind academically.3

Our schools need help—in the form of more funds and resources—to ensure that our children remain safe and healthy. We need a new CARES Act just for schools—one that will ensure that our children and their teachers are able to focus on learning and teaching without having to worry about their safety and wellness.

Sign now to tell the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that will fund our schools’ health and safety programs and keep our teachers and students focused on learning.

  1. “Pandemic-Stricken Schools Tell Senate They Need Help to Reopen,” The New York Times; June 10, 2020.
  2. “WHAT WILL IT COST TO REOPEN SCHOOLS?” American Association of School Administrators; accessed August 21, 2020.
  3. “Schools want to reopen safely. Without federal funds, many worry they can't.” NBC News; July 3, 2020.
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The Petition:

Dear U.S. Congress,

Schools are supposed to be places for curiosity, play, socialization, and learning. Our children need to be able to concentrate on expanding their minds and growing their knowledge, and that means their educators need to be focused on it too. We cannot have school staff members and leaders shifting their attention to the difficult issue of how to finance the supplies needed to comply with new federal health and safety regulations.

Schools are currently “stuck” waiting to find out whether they will receive more funds. Without the extra funding, roughly 2 million education jobs are likely to be cut, and our students will suffer the consequences.1

Our students’ safety and wellness are of the utmost importance, but so is their education. Schools need help getting their hands on the tools, resources, and money needed to be able to conform to new health and safety standards.

We demand that you increase federal funding to American schools affected by the coronavirus so that they can reopen safely and continue to educate our precious children.


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