As schools needlessly switch to distance learning, Blunt & Burr worry about administration’s lack of plan, inability to use billions of taxpayer dollars to keep schools open
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, and Richard Burr (NC), Member Classification Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, sent a letter calling on Secretary of the United States Department of Education, Miguel Cardona, to provide a detailed plan on how the administration uses the billion dollars provided by Congress to help keep schools open. Despite the high vaccination rate among teachers, significant federal funding, and prevention strategies supported by the CDC, a growing number of universities and K-12 schools are needlessly shifting to distance learning in light of the omicron variant.
“In recent weeks, many colleges and universities have returned to distance learning, including Georgetown University, Yale University and Duke University. In addition, more than 5,400 K-12 schools across the country closed their physical buildings for a day or more during the first week of 2022, including districts of Chicago, the third largest school system in the country, Cleveland, Newark, Detroit and Milwaukee. These preventive school closings are unnecessary, especially given the high vaccination rates of teachers and the diaper prevention strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the test-to-stay program ” , the senators wrote.
Senators note that funding is not a barrier to keeping schools open, as Congress has provided more than $ 266 billion to K-12 schools and higher education institutions over the past two years.
Senators continuedWhat concerns us is that as of December 30, 2021, 86% of the funding was still not spent by K-12 school districts and 36% by colleges and universities. of $ 266 billion specifically earmarked for K-12 schools, colleges and universities to ensure continuity of learning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and over $ 191 billion currently available, where is the gap between the ministry and the schools? … We have appreciated your past efforts to keep the schools open, but it is clear that more needs to be done.It is important for Congress and the American people to have a clear understanding of the administration strategy and full accounting of how the Department of Education uses taxpayer funding.
To read the letter, Click here.
Last week, the senators called on the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, to detail the administration’s strategy to address the severe shortage of COVID-19 tests in the country.