COVID-19 Relief Legislation Stalled
For the past few weeks, Congressional leaders and White House officials have worked to reach agreement on additional legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These discussions have largely been unsuccessful to date, with House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and the Trump Administration at odds over the size and content of the anticipated aid package. As these talks stalled last week, President Trump signed several Executive Orders in the hopes of pressuring Congressional Democrats on several key issues at the center of the negotiations (issues mostly unrelated to K-12 education). These actions did not have the desired effect and most lawmakers in both chambers have now returned back to their states and districts as part of a previously planned August recess. Lawmakers are on notice, however, and could return to the Capitol within 24 hours should a deal be reached by Congressional leaders and the White House in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the 2020 federal fiscal year deadline is fast approaching. This deadline could potentially force lawmakers to combine both issues into an even larger agreement later this fall ahead of the November elections. As these efforts continue, MSBA’s and NSBA’s advocacy team will be working with lawmakers to ensure they appreciate the significant funding needs of the K-12 education community.
New Title IX Regulations for Schools Take Effect Today
The U.S. Department of Education’s new Title IX regulationstake effect today after a last-ditch effort seeking intervention by the courts failed. The new rule directs how schools respond to sexual harassment and sexual violence. Every school district must have new policies and procedures in place, paired with required staff training, to ensure compliance with the changed regulations.
White House Releases School Reopening Guidance
Earlier this week, the White House released a high-level set of recommendations and guidance for K-12 schools to physically reopen for learning this year. Titled “Schools Should Reopen Safely,” the guidance is part of a broader push by the Trump administration to encourage schools to mitigate, rather than avoid, risk associated with physically reopening for schooling during the pandemic. The guidance comes after the American Pediatrics Association released datathis week showing that at least 97,000 children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks of July.