Republican Senator Marco Rubio will introduce legislation to hold the Joe Biden administration to a promise to reopen schools within its first 100 days in office.
What Marco Rubio said
In his Fox News article, Marco Rubio warned that teachers’ unions no longer have an excuse to stay home, especially after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that schools reopen as soon as possible if precautions are taken.
“If a school continues to cave to the unions at the expense of their students, they should not receive funding,” the Republican senator said.
Marco Rubio proposed that closed schools should stop receiving funding, and instead divert that money to schools that do prioritize the needs of students.
“I propose that if a school refuses to offer students an in-person option by April 30, 2021, 100 days into the Biden administration, that funding should be rescinded and directed to the reopening plans of schools that are prioritizing their students,” he said.
“If the national teachers’ unions and their local affiliates in Chicago, New Jersey, California and elsewhere really wanted to follow the science, they would be working with local governments to open our schools right now, without demanding more taxpayer dollars. They would recognize that, with student suicide rates rising across the country, there is indeed a need to rush back,” he said.
“If Democrats want to claim to be the party of science, they should side with our students and public health experts and tell the teachers’ unions that it’s time to go back to class and do their jobs,” Marco Rubio added.
Schools can safely reopen
Late last year, Congress passed legislation that included $54.3 billion for public schools, a figure on top of the $13 billion provided to school districts through the CARES Act last March.
“This is more than the federal government normally spends on education in an entire year,” Rubio said.
“The bottom line is that with the right prevention efforts, we can keep the transmission in schools and educational settings at a fairly low level,” said Margaret A. Honein, lead author of the JAMA report, in The Washington Post.
The researcher further commented that the studies showed that even in places with high infection rates, there is no evidence that schools transmit the virus at levels higher than those seen in the community. He clarified, however, that this will always depend on continuing to take all sanitary precautions.
In that regard the CDC recommends that all schools apply the following measures: use of masks, distance of two meters between people and that the same groups of students attend classes to limit the number of people who should be quarantined in case cases arise.
“With good prevention, we can safely reopen and keep more schools open,” added Honein, CDC’s coronavirus task force leader for state and local health departments.
Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended going back to school, Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, said virtual learning should be extended further.
“School closures based on incomplete information could have major repercussions,” warns an article published in Nature on January 21st.
Experts around the world have warned against school closures, pointing to the long-term damage that a lack of learning can do to millions of children worldwide.
A report published in The Lancet, notes that the charity Save the Children predicted that, by the end of 2020, half a million more children worldwide would have been forced into marriage and a million more girls would become pregnant as an indirect result of COVID-19.
“The cost of school closures, in terms of lost education, potential exposure to abuse and, in some countries, the premature end of schooling in favor of work or marriage, could have devastating social impacts that will blight a generation of children,” the report adds.