Biden’s Stimulus Gave Schools Billions to Re-Open Safely – Why Are So Many Still Closed?
The $1.9 trillion stimulus package that passed last month included funding to support the reopening of schools around the country. While many people have noticed pictures of smiling children heading off to their first day of in-person classes this year, others are still doing virtual learning. What happened with the funding?
The Associated Press reports that in many districts, the problems go beyond funding. Many teachers, staffers, and parents are concerned that it is still not safe to return. Some buildings require extensive retrofitting to meet distancing and ventilation standards, which takes time. And other districts have issues with transportation. They need more busses and more drivers to accommodate social distancing to and from school.
Other complications have emerged with vaccine access. Many teachers and staffers do not want to go back into the classroom until they are fully vaccinated, a process that takes over a month. School employees do not have priority in some states. Block Club Chicago, a local news site, reported that one of the vendors that had a contract to vaccinate Chicago Public Schools employees misallocated the doses for the other patients.
Some students have more or less dropped out. They have not logged in to their online classes or otherwise engaged with their teachers. In some cases, their families switched to a homeschooling curriculum without notifying the school. In others, the students simply stopped going to class and their parents were unable to make them return.
The lesson here is that money solves some problems, but not all of them and not all at once. It’s one of many hard things that school children and their families have learned during the pandemic.
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