Press Releases

As South Florida Schools Consider In-Person Classes, Mucarsel-Powell Introduces NEW Bill Outlining Guidance, Funding & Resources In Order To Safely Reopen School

Mucarsel-Powell Spoke With A Student, Teacher, School Board Member, And Public Health Expert About Safely Reopening Schools

Washington, August 27, 2020

MIAMI, FL – Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), member of the Congressional Coronavirus Task Force, introduced new legislation to provide schools with the health guidance, funding, and resources needed to safely reopen K-12 schools when health conditions allow. As South Florida schools consider starting in-person classes, Mucarsel-Powell gathered a group of experts to discuss this critical legislation and the implications for students, teachers, and parents.

“In Florida and across the country, our nation’s coronavirus response has left parents and educators scrambling. I’m looking at our nation’s response to the pandemic, watching as the White House tampers with CDC guidance to safely reopen schools, and am seeing our state’s governor and education commissioner fight over the best path forward and am left wondering — how are parents and educators supposed to have any confidence in this process?” said Mucarsel-Powell. “We cannot allow this uncertainty to continue. I understand the value of having our children in school, but I also know we must keep them safe. That is why I teamed up with Dr. Marty, the American Federation of Teachers, and other major education groups and public health experts to introduce this critical legislation to guide our schools on the safest reopening strategy and provide our educators with the tools and funding to keep one another and our children safe. I urge quick passage of this bill in Congress to get this urgently-needed help to our communities.”

“The safe and equitable reopening of our schools should be grounded in science, not deception and denial. Betsy DeVos and President Trump, rather than assisting the CDC to do its job, try to bully and bludgeon it to serve their political ends. That's why Rep. Mucarsel-Powell’s SCHOOLS Act is so timely—it ensures the CDC issues guidance based on the facts and then secures the funding for states to make in-person learning safe for educators, students and the school community. It acknowledges the truth that educators are eager to return to their classrooms but that we need to curb community spread, implement testing, tracing, and physical distancing and provide PPE, transportation, food service, ventilation and cleaning to get there. Many states and districts have devised their own reopening plans, but DeVos and Trump refused to acknowledge them, and the Senate has failed to fund them. Rep. Mucarsel-Powell's bill lights the way forward,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

A one-page fact sheet on the SCHOOLS Act can be found HERE, and a recording of the press conference introducing the bill can be found HERE.