WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) urged returning students to in-person classroom instruction nationwide and highlighted the success of Arkansas as an effective model of how it can be done safely.
“Arkansas is setting the example. The Natural State can be proud of the teachers, administrators and elected state leaders who continue to find ways to keep schools open and provide critical services children deserve. It’s time that students in other states have the same opportunities,” Boozman said on the Senate floor.
Arkansas has been allocated $686 million in Boozman-backed COVID-19 relief funding which it has used to safely reopen schools in August 2020. School districts invested in cleaning supplies, barriers and retrofitted classrooms.
“Educators thought creatively and found solutions to these new problems. And, although every school and community had different challenges, they moved ahead with the same goal: finding the best and safest way to get and keep children and teachers in the classroom,” Boozman said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research recommends schools reopen. Earlier this month the CDC issued new guidance to help schools safely open for in-person learning. While President Joe Biden pledged to reopen schools within his first 100 days in office, the administration is now backing away from the original goal.
Over the past year, Congress has delivered $113 billion to support education during the COVID-19 pandemic including $68 billion to help bring K-12 students back to the classroom. As of February 9, sates have spent just under $5 billion of the money allocated for elementary and secondary schools.
Getting students back in the classroom must be a priority not only for students, but for women who are shouldering much of the burden of this crisis.
In February 2020, women held the majority of non-farm payroll jobs. They outnumbered men in the workforce for the first time in American history. A recent analysis by the National Women’s Law Center shows today the number of women in the workforce is at a 33-year low.