FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2020
North Long Beach, Calif. – Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and local education leaders said significant federal resources will be needed to help schools re-open for in-person learning.
“We all want students and teachers to get back in the classroom and for life to start to return to normal, but schools will need additional federal resources in order to safely do that,” Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán said. “Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is putting politics above science and the safety of students and teachers by insisting schools open for in-person learning without providing the resources they need to open safely.
“I applaud the Long Beach Unified School District and others throughout California that are taking the right steps to make sure we get back to school safely during these challenging times.”
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said, “As mayor and an educator, I look forward to schools reopening once they are safe for students, teachers, and staff. School is an important part of every child’s life, and we look forward to working with our federal partners to make it a safe experience for all.”
Congresswoman Barragán and her colleagues in the U.S. House are calling for a $300 Billion federal investment directly into K-12 education to safely reopen schools and preserve services for students.
Congresswoman Barragan was joined at today’s news conference by Long Beach Mayor Dr. Robert Garcia, Long Beach City Councilmember Rex Richardson (District 9), LBUSD Board Member Megan Kerr (District 1), LBUSD Assistant Superintendent of High Schools Dr. Jay Camerino, and Jordan High School Principal Kaisha Irving-Holder.
Long Beach City Councilmember Rex Richardson (District 9) said, “As a dad of two young daughters, I understand, first-hand, the concerns that parents have with balancing the diverse educational and social needs of our children as well as the capacity of our local schools to open safely.”
“It’s been 100 days since House Democrats passed the HEROES Act. We need President Trump and Senate Republicans to put the safety and health of our students and teachers first, by helping local schools and communities overcome this devastating pandemic,” Councilmember Richardson added.
LBUSD Assistant Superintendent of High Schools Dr. Jay Camerino explained, “We need more resources, especially around academic and social emotional support, for student as they transition back from months of being out of school. In addition, we need parent resource centers at all of our schools to provide one on one assistance.”
Despite false early claims from Trump Administration officials, the CDC’s most recent guidance acknowledges that children can and do spread the virus.
Additionally, fully reopening classrooms without appropriate resources – as President Trump has demanded – will endanger the lives of hundreds of thousands of educators. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis estimates 1.5 million teachers — nearly 1 in 4 — have health conditions putting them at higher risk if they contract Covid-19.
The HEROES Act, which passed in the House in May, directs more than $100 billion in emergency education funding to help schools cover unexpected costs that are necessary to reopening safely, including:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),
- cleaning and sanitizing classrooms,
- improving ventilation systems that are out of date and insufficient, and
- making special accommodations for high-risk students and educators.
Unfortunately, the Senate and White House did not act and the HEROES Act has not become law. As the crisis has worsened since the passage of the HEROES Act, the amount of funding needed to reopen schools safely has grown. Democrats are now requesting $300 billion for education and safely reopening our schools.
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.