Americans now believe the risk that students will fall behind academically without in-person instruction is greater than the health risks a return to school poses to students or teachers, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. More schools may be opening their doors to students on a full- or part-time basis, but the U.S. Department of Education recently reported that as of February, 43 percent of elementary students and 48 percent of middle school students were still fully remote.
President Biden campaigned on a pledge to reopen most schools within his first 100 days in office. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides historic support of more than $130 billion to help K-12 schools open safely, address learning loss and improve access to online learning. Students whose families have suffered the worst economic and health impacts from the pandemic have also experienced the greatest educational setbacks, and provisions throughout the ARP address their needs.
It will take years to address the devastating impacts of COVID-19 including the ways that the pandemic exacerbated the existing inequities in our education system, said Secretary of Education Michael Cardona when the bill was signed. To repair the harm done, our schools and educators will need predictable resources.