Exclusive: Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) plans to introduce legislation taking aim at opening schools for in-person instruction after mass closures due to COVID-19 restrictions.
"...that U.S. school systems have adequate resources and public health evidence to safely reopen for in-person education; Affirms that extended school closures pose a risk to the well-being of American children, especially the most vulnerable, and to the future of the nation; and urges every school in the United States to open for in-person instruction as soon as possible," the text of the resolution reads.
Banks pointed to the dangers of long-term remote learning, which has proven to be substantially less effective than traditional, in-person instruction.
“For nearly a year now, our country’s leading experts have gathered data on the effects of COVID-19 as well as the consequences of remote learning on our children,” Banks said. “Every possible metric indicates that young people need in-person instruction and that failure to do so has disastrous consequences. School districts nationwide must remain open.”
The Keep Our Schools Open Resolution is backed by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that indicates that reopening schools is safe, even while the pandemic continues. With restrictions and mandates still in place, the CDC deems reopening K-12 schools safe for children and educators.
“Back in August and September, we did not have a lot of data on whether or not we would see the same sort of rapid spread in schools that we had seen in other high-density work sites or residential sites,” Dr. Margaret Honein, a member of the CDC’s COVID response team told The New York Times. “But there is accumulating data now that with high face mask compliance, and distancing and cohorting of students to minimize the total number of contacts, we can minimize the amount of transmission in schools.”
In addition to learning issues with remote schooling, the CDC also observed a troubling spike in mental health visits for children.