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News & Press: Legislative Updates

Safely Reopening America's Schools

Monday, July 27, 2020  
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Yesterday (July 23), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers when schools open this fall.  With states, cities, and communities around the country experiencing different levels of COVID-19 transmission, jurisdictions should make sure appropriate public health strategies are in place to slow the spread of the virus as the first step in creating a safer school environment.  Then, in collaboration with state and local health departments, school administrators may employ strategies that best match local conditions and practical and feasible actions in their schools to help protect the health and safety of everyone -- including students, teachers, and staff (press release). 


"It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall," explained CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.  "The resources released today will help parents, teachers, and administrators make practical, safety-focused decisions as this school year begins.  I know this has been a difficult time for our nation's families.  School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth.  CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable." 


CDC's resources and tools support how to open schools safely by promoting behaviors that prevent spread, altering the school and school day structure, and keeping the school environment healthy through cleaning, proper ventilation, and other practices.  They also describe what to do to guard against someone who might be sick from infecting others and what to do if this occurs.  Finally, they provide students, school administrators, parents, guardians, and caregivers with the information they need to guide decision-making and adapt to local conditions. 


Deputy Secretary of Education Mitchell Zais will join Dr. Redfield for a media telebriefing to discuss the new resources later today (July 24). 


Meanwhile, over the past few weeks, President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary DeVos, and other senior Administration officials reiterated the importance of safely reopening America's schools this fall. 


On July 14, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Vice President and Secretary participated in a roundtable discussion with Governor John Bel Edwards at Tiger Stadium on the campus of Louisiana State University (Vice President's remarks). 


On July 15, the Secretary was the keynote speaker for the virtual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum (video). 


And, on July 21, in Columbia, South Carolina, the Vice President, Second Lady Karen Pence, and the Secretary participated in a roundtable discussion with Governor Henry McMaster at the Alumni Center on the campus of the University of South Carolina (Vice President's remarks and Secretary's tweets 1 and 2). 


Also, Deputy Secretary Zais spoke on this week's White House briefing call for state and local officials.  "We recognize that school may look different this fall," he stated.  "That's fine.  This is an opportunity to show our children that -- with some ingenuity and creative thinking -- we can overcome any challenge.  Our schools will return stronger and more student-focused than before." 


Additionally, the Deputy Secretary kicked-off a webinar hosted by the Department's Center for Faith and Opportunities Initiative: "Talking to Elementary School Age Children about a Return to School." 



The White House, the Department, and other federal agencies continue to release guidance to support schools, educators, and families regarding COVID-19.  Many of the latest documents are listed below.  Please visit the Department's COVID-19 information and resources web page for the most current information, and any questions for the Department may be directed to

Moreover, in a Federal Register notice, the Department corrected information regarding eligible entities for the Reimagine Workforce Preparation (RWP) Grants Program, indicating that the applicant must be either a State Workforce Board that is a state agency or an entity with the authority to apply for, receive, and administer funds or a state agency or entity that is appropriately designated by the State Workforce Board. 

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