Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48) today joined more than 60 of her colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to follow the science and safely reopen schools across the country. In December, then President-Elect Biden pledged to open the nation’s schools during his first 100 days in office. However, last month the Administration said that the goal only applied to schools teaching students up to eighth grade, and just this week they adjusted their pledge, stating that schools will be considered “open” if they are providing in-person instruction once a week.
“It is time to put politics aside and put people, especially our children, first,” the members wrote.
An article recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted that there is “little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.” Recently during a White House news briefing Rochelle Walensky, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated.”
In addition to the job losses due to continued lockdowns and the education inequality that too many students are experiencing following the lockdowns, the members highlighted the negative impact that closed schools are having on students’ mental health.
Rep. Steel spoke on the House Floor last week and offered a motion during floor debate to immediately consider the Reopen Schools Act, which would condition the $54 billion Congress allocated to schools in December on them reopening safely for their students. The Democrats wouldn’t even consider the bill on the floor. Rep. Steel also offered an amendment this week during a House Committee on Education and Labor markup of the proposed budget for the next fiscal year and President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief that would require schools to reopen as soon as vaccines are made available to teachers.
This article was released by the Office of Representative Michelle Steel.