American Academy of Pediatrics: Schools need over $200B from feds to reopen safely

Estimates vary but most organizer agree price tag will be hefty for safe reopening in fall

A health organization aimed at protecting children is weighing in on what needs to be done to reopen schools.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said schools are going to need $200.5 billion to safely reopen.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy the AAP said,

“The Academy carefully weighed the available evidence and determined that our shared goal should be to have students physically present in school in the fall… For schools to safely reopen with students in the classroom, Congress must provide sufficient funding to help schools adapt and make necessary changes and accommodations.”

The Association of School Business Officials International and the School Superintendents Association estimate it’s going to cost school districts on average an additional $1.7 million per school district for schools to open.

That estimate is low.

The price tag for just PPE gear for St. Johns County is $1.7 million.

Duval County Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said the barriers for each classroom desk are going to cost $4 million.

Duval school board approves plan to buy desk barriers for students
Duval school board approves plan to buy desk barriers for students

The costs go on, from hand sanitizer to deep cleaning in case there’s a confirmed case in the school, it’s going to be expensive.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends $200.5 billion. The American Federation of Teachers estimates $116.5 billion. The nonprofit Councils of Chief State School Officers estimates anywhere from $158 billion - $244 billion.

“The districts simply do not have enough money, but they need this money to keep kids safe and keep employees safe,” said Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram.

McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that schooling will be a priority in the coming economic package. Senate Democrats have proposed a $430 billion education stabilization plan. But the Republican leader has not said how much Congress is willing to spend, wary of high-dollar outlays that will run into resistance from GOP senators. Vice President Mike Pence assured governors Monday that talks are underway for education funds from Congress.

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