Stimulus Update: Educators Demand Funding for COVID-19 Prevention

As talks of a second stimulus package have come to a standstill, the National Education Association is demanding Congress approve much-needed funding as schools across the country are working on plans to reopen or have already resume in-person classes. The first stimulus plan, the CARES Act, gave schools approximately $17 billion through three funds, however that money has hardly been tapped into yet due to a complicated system. With schools preparing for a new normal in 2020, the NEA is hoping to put some pressure on Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

Becky Pringle, who is the president of the NEA, expressed frustration with Yahoo! about the lack of support teachers are getting during the coronavirus pandemic. She said no school district factored the purchase of plexiglass or PPE into the budget, and with the school year right around the corner for most, she has grown tired of waiting around. “We are tired of waiting for McConnell to do his job,” adding that, “we’re tired of waiting for leadership from the White House.” Hoping that the country does better, Pringle shared that she receives messages from teachers every day who are growing worried about the academic year rapidly approaching, noting that many of them admit they “feel unsafe.” The call for more financial help with the second stimulus package would provide further financial support for educators to create the safest environment possible for in-school teaching while allowing those opting for remote learning better equipment to teach.

Teachers aren’t the only ones growing tiresome of the talks going on with the second stimulus package. Many people have been awaiting financial support, such as the $1,200 check, but the negotiations have seemingly hit an impasse. President Donald Trump went on to issue executive orders pertaining to payroll tax deferral and unemployment bonus, which will see an additional $400 go to those who are collecting.

As for schools, some that have returned to the classroom are already seeing firsthand the danger that is COVID-19. A Georgia school, after a viral photo made its way across social media showing students packed into a hallway, has already decided to move to online learning. Meanwhile, another school in the state has seen more than 800 students and staff need to quarantine following positive cases in the building. This issue came with masks not being a requirement there. Indiana, another state that has already resumed class, has seen its fair share of schools closing down and moving to digital due to COVID-19 outbreaks.