With COVID-19 Worsening, Schools Need Federal Aid Now More Than Ever

AFSA joined more than a dozen other organizations representing state and local officials, education leaders and educators and released the following statement regarding federal COVID-19 relief for public schools:

“As the U.S. breaks domestic and international records for new COVID-19 cases each day, schools continue to deliver education in virtual and in-person settings. States and school districts are expending significant resources to protect students and educators as state and local revenues continue to decline precipitously.

"School districts are working diligently to reopen and stay open for in-person instruction where public health guidelines allow. Parents continue to sacrifice as they balance providing for their families and helping their children learn from home.

"Educators continue to strive to deliver a high-quality education to students across all grades. They are putting their health at risk to reach students who cannot learn in an online setting. Meanwhile, declines in state and local revenues, outpacing the Great Recession a decade ago, have made educator job loss among the hardest-hit sectors during the COVID-fueled economic crisis.

"Yet, despite the sacrifices of schools, parents and educators, Congress continues to fail to reach an agreement to help.

"It has been seven months since Congress passed a stop-gap solution for education funding in the CARES Act. In early April, late April, June, July and October, our organizations implored Congress to help students and educators through additional COVID-19 relief for education. Congress has yet to deliver.

"Even when additional aid is passed for schools, it will take weeks for funding to reach school districts. Every day and week that Congress continues to delay passage means multiweek delays for schools to receive funding and relief. Investments are urgently needed to meet the growing academic and social-emotional needs of students, and to ensure the nation’s economic recovery and future competitiveness.

"In a time where the nation agrees on very little, everyone agrees on the importance of ensuring all our students have what they need to learn during this pandemic, and helping schools open—and stay open—safely for staff and students. This important work is dependent upon federal support, and Congress must act now to provide aid to states and schools during the lame-duck session. Educators, students and communities cannot wait any longer."