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Open Letter Adamantly Opposes Physical Reopening of Schools During COVID Health Crisis

Once Advancement Project National Office realized how dire the COVID-19 crisis would be, and how it very quickly upended the public school system causing massive widespread school closures, we highlighted the resources that would be needed in order to continue providing education to our nation’s children for the second half of the school year. In that letter in March, we urged Congress to provide funding for school meals for all children and families, internet connectivity to meet students’ online learning needs, to end the use of school police – particularly surveillance and monitoring technologies on loaned devices, and most importantly the necessary mental health support to children so that they are equipped to handle these troubling times and are able to cope with the trauma that our society faces. While Congress did allocate some funding for education, most of our demands were not met – and the provision of school meals and online learning throughout the nation was haphazard at best. 

It is now September, and we find ourselves facing the same uncertainty we did earlier this year – except it is now with increasing pressure to ignore the recommendations of scientists and doctors and physically “reopen” schools. We will not stay silent while our communities are put at risk for greater suffering by politicians who couldn’t care less what happens to our children and families. After decades of underfunding and under-resourcing our schools, this crisis has revealed what too many have long ignored about our nation’s schools – that they are our society’s anchors – vital places of learning, growth, development, and support – they are the lifeblood of our communities. 

We adamantly oppose the physical reopening of schools while this crisis continues. Once this pandemic is abated, and there is a scientific consensus that indoor spaces are safe again, we wholeheartedly support the opening of schools provided they meet the basic needs addressed in this letter.

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