The following is a press release from Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga
It’s time to get our children back to school safely.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield at a press conference in Charlotte on Monday said it’s a greater health threat for kids to not be in school because they often rely on at-school meals, mental health resources, and socialization.
“My analysis of this on the public health scale is way in favor of reopening schools face to face and these kids can get the education they deserve,” Director Redfield said.
Gov. Roy Cooper, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction, was supposed to announce reopening plans on July 1. Instead of giving students and families clarity on how and when they’ll be able to return to the classroom, he passed the buck. He is scheduled to make an announcement this afternoon, allowing only one month to get ready.
“Educators have always told us about the learning loss students experience when they’re not in the classroom,” Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga) said. “Kids from well-off households with two parents may be in a better position to succeed away from the classroom. But it’s the impact on the child of a single mother who works an hourly job that concerns me the most. We can and must get our students back into classrooms while providing an alternative for those most vulnerable to the virus.”
Studies from across the world have shown young children are at a lower risk of getting sick from COVID-19. It’s folly to believe that we cannot open schools while taking the necessary steps to protect our vulnerable citizens.
“In our coronavirus relief packages, we’ve prioritized remote learning and support services many families rely on during the school year,” Sen. Ballard said. “Even in the middle of an unprecedented financial and public health crisis, we have maintained historic levels of funding for schools and provided pay raises and bonuses to our teachers.”
In total, the General Assembly has directed more than $600 million for K-12 education since the pandemic began, including authorizing nearly $400 million in federal CARES Act funding.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the General Assembly has funded:
- $75 million for meals;
- $10 million for mental health support services;
- $12 million for internet connectivity;
- $35 million for electronic devices so students can access online learning;
- $9 million for the GREAT program to establish more broadband internet services in under-served communities;
- $70 million for summer learning programs;
- $7 million for PPE.