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You’re reading Another View, one of two perspectives in Today’s Debate.
For Our View, read “Don’t fail when it comes to reopening schools.”
The impact this pandemic has had on students is devastating — with more absences, fewer learning opportunities and more social isolation.
That is why in the first three weeks of his presidency, President Joe Biden has taken immediate action to address this crisis with a clear goal in mind: Get students back to school, in-person learning five days a week as quickly and safely as possible. This is no easy feat, but an evidence-based, urgent approach like the one we are charting can make all the difference.
Let’s take a look at some of the actions the president has already taken.
One of the first actions as president was issuing an executive order that asked the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance and recommendations to schools. Last Friday, we released that guidance, and the Education Department will be working closely with educators and schools to help problem-solve and ensure that communities have what they need to implement mitigation strategies.
Let me be clear: Real, evidence-based guidelines, while long overdue, will provide local school districts with the guidance they need to effectively reopen safely.
We also still do not know the full scope of impact that this COVID-19 pandemic has had on our schools and students. There is patchwork data on the status of in-person learning, but even that lacks the data needed to understand just how students are learning during this pandemic.
President Biden has asked the Department of Education to collect this important data, so that we can finally make evidence-based policy decisions to ensure that we not only get our kids back to school safely, but that we are also addressing the issues they are facing in this pandemic.
Last, the president has laid out $130 billion in his American Rescue Plan that would provide essential resources to not only help schools implement mitigation strategies, but also help schools and educators address the social emotional and mental health needs of students — as well as extended learning time and strategies to address learning loss. This funding will be critical for our future; we need Congress to act.
This is no small task. That’s why the president is taking a whole-of-government approach to ensure that we’re providing schools resources to reopen and stay open safely. The actions to date speak to a real way to get our students back to learning in-person as quickly and as safely as possible.
Jessica Cardichon is the deputy assistant secretary of Education for K-12.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Joe Biden is helping schools to reopen and stay open safely