Dem Rep. Hayes: ‘Lots of Things That Need to Happen’ Before I’m Comfortable with Reopening Schools, It’ll Cost about $250 Billion

On Saturday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Cross Connection,” Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) stated that “there are lots of things that need to happen before schools open and I would be comfortable with it.” And it will cost around $250 billion for schools to be safely reopened.

Hayes said, “I am very encouraged that the Biden administration has made reopening schools a top priority. However, I would like to see, first of all, educators assigned as essential workers and have access to the vaccine. I want to make sure that there is money for state and local governments to provide personal protective equipment, which teachers generally are buying out of their own pockets. I want to make sure that they have access to testing, and there’s a contingency plan for when there’s an outbreak. And equally as important, teachers need to have professional development for virtual learning and kids have to have a digital connection to make sure that if there has to be an interruption in back-to-school, that they can continue learning. … I’m encouraged that the Biden administration is listening and changing course accordingly, but there are lots of things that need to happen before schools open and I would be comfortable with it.”

She added, “It’s estimated that it will cost about $250 billion to reopen schools safely. In the COVID relief package, there’s about $130 billion dedicated to reopening schools. I recently introduced legislation, the Save Education Jobs Act. Because I want to make sure that we are preserving the jobs of social workers and counselors and nurses and paraprofessionals and all of those support personnel who are the first to go when school budgets are cut. We need all of those people as kids return from what is probably the most traumatic experience of their life.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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