Bill Introductions – Week-ending March 12, 2021

Bill Introductions HF 1954-2173 and SF 1803-2033

The following bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature March 8-12, 2021.  Every Friday, we will publish bills that have been introduced during the week.

We hope that you monitor these posts, as it keeps you updated and informed about the bills under consideration that may impact school boards and school districts across the state.  Whether it is a new mandate, or more/less funding for certain programs it is important for you to know how these bills may impact your district. http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/Bill-Intros-3-12-2021.pdf

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Federal Update

Earlier today, the United States Senate passed its substitute version of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021. The measure passed 50-49 along party lines with one Senator absent from the proceedings. The $1.9 trillion total relief plan package includes a little more than $126 billion for public schools which is a slight reduction from what was in the original House legislation. The legislation requires that at least 20 percent of the funding will be used for learning loss. The Senate bill differs from the original legislation in the House by carving out $2.75 billion for governors to use for private schools. 

Importantly, the legislation includes more than $7.1 billion that will provide direct funding for the homework gap, the term that commonly refers to the digital divide in education that impacts many students who lack access to devices and/or high-speed broadband when they are out of school. The funding will follow the provisions proposed in the Emergency Educational Connections Act which NSBA strongly supported by having the funding flow though the E-rate program under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). While this funding will not solve the long-term homework gap problem, it is a significant win for students impacted by this issue during the pandemic.

The legislation will now go back to the U.S. House of Representatives for a final vote since the legislation has changed from original passage in the House. Major changes in the legislation unrelated to education included removing a $15 minimum wage increase and altering unemployment benefits to $300 a week in payments through September 6 instead of $400 a week through August that was in the original House legislation. Additionally, the legislation will provide up to $10,200 in tax relief for laid off workers from households of incomes under $150,000 a year.

The House is expected to begin debate on the legislation Tuesday of this week and it is expected to pass. The President has requested an expedited timeline for passage so he can sign it into law before March 14 when the next round of unemployment benefits would expire for many workers. MSBA and NSBA will provide additional information on the legislation as we learn more.

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Federal Weekly Update

Congressional Update 

Senate Considers American Rescue Plan

On Saturday, February 27, the House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), mostly along party lines, by a marginof 219-212. If enacted, ARP would provide nearly $1.9 trillion in assorted relief funding to help respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the bill’s passage in the House, ARP was sent to the Senate where the upper chamber has spent most of this week determining what components of the legislation are allowable under the budget reconciliation process—a legislative mechanism allowing Congress to pass legislation, like ARP, with simple majorities in both chambers. On Thursday, March 4, the Senate Budget Committee released a substitute amendment, making several changes to the House-passed version of the ARP, as the full chamber prepares for formal consideration of the legislation over the next few days. 

Of particular note, the Senate’s version of the ARP proposes $125 billion in additional aid for the K-12 community via the existing Elementary and Secondary Education Relief (ESSER) Fund—roughly $3 billion less than proposed by the House. In addition, the Senate’s vision for ARP requires that 87.5% of funds be distributed to local school districts (as opposed to 90% in the House-passed ARP). With a higher state-level funding set-aside allowance, the Senate version of the ARP would require state education agencies to reserve at least one percent of this funding for evidence-based summer school and afterschool programs respectively. Another change made by the Senate is a new requirement that 2.5% of this funding be used for purchasing educational technology. Both bills maintain a requirement that at least five percent of this state-level funding be used to address learning loss.  

The Senate’s proposed bill also makes several technical changes to the legislation’s “maintenance of equity” provision and slightly modifies the existing local allowable uses of ESSER funds to ensure funding can be used to implement school reopening guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) among other changes. 

Unlike the House version of the ARP, the Senate version of ARP proposes $2.75 billion in dedicated funding for nonpublic schools to support private schools.  While the House-passed bill authorizes equitable services for private schools consistent with the existing Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) statute, the Senate version would establish a precedent to expand vouchers beyond ESEA equitable services and thus create another federal funding stream for private schools, rather than a limited form of assistance within existing law.  NSBA believes public tax dollars should only support public schools and opposes any efforts to subsidize tuition or expenses at elementary or secondary private schools, religious schools, or private home/correspondence schools with public tax dollars. Specifically, NSBA opposes vouchers, tax credits, and tax subsidies for use at non-public K-12 schools. NSBA encourages outreach to Congress concerning this issue.

Finally, the Senate’s version of ARP proposes $7.172 billion in additional funding for the E-rate program to support student remote learning to help with the homework gap, the term used to describe the digital divide for students when they are out of school buildings. The number is approximately $500 million less than the amount proposed by the House. While the overall numbers in both versions of the legislation is below the $12 billion that NSBA believes is ultimately needed for short-term relief in narrowing the homework gap, it is a good step forward in helping the millions of students who lack adequate access during the pandemic. 

After releasing the text of the bill in the Senate, members voted along party lines to proceed to debate on this updated version of ARP Thursday afternoon. The Senate’s formal consideration of this bill is expected to be protracted and will likely last through much of the weekend. However, this legislation is widely expected to pass narrowly along party lines—a sequence of events that would send the bill back to the House for final consideration and likely passage sometime next week. Lawmakers hope to pass this legislation prior to March 14 when currently expanded unemployment benefits are set to expire.

Earmarks Mount a Comeback in Congress

In 2011, Congress banned the use of “earmarks”—funding requested by individual members of Congress for specific projects or purposes. On Monday, March 1, House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) announced plansto resurrect the practice, rebranding them as “Community Project Funding,” and proposing much stricter rules regarding their use. Earmarks have fervent proponents who argue that the practice facilitates more efficient legislating in Congress, while detractors argue it leads to waste and has the potential for abuse. Chairwoman DeLauro’s counterpart in the Senate, Appropriations Committee Chairman Leahy (D-VT), is reportedly working on a forthcoming agreement with the House to fully reinstitute the practice for the current 117thCongress and the related appropriations process. 

Administration Update 

Cardona Confirmed to Lead USED 

On Monday, March 1, the Senate officially confirmed Miguel Cardona as the next U.S. Secretary of Education. The Senate voted 64-33 in favor of Cardona’s nomination and Vice President Kamala Harris formally swore him in the following day. In an op-edpublished on Tuesday, Secretary Cardona announced that he plans to host a national summit on reopening school buildings and outlined several related areas that he plans to prioritize in the near-term. On Wednesday, Secretary Cardona, along with First Lady Jill Biden, visited K-12 schools in Connecticut and Pennsylvania highlighting efforts to safely reopen school buildings for in-person instruction. The visit comes amid President Biden’s callearlier in the week to prioritize teacher vaccinations as part of wider efforts to expedite reopening of school buildings in the coming weeks and months ahead. 

Bills

  • H.R.1581To support library infrastructure. Sponsor:Rep. Levin, Andy [D-MI-9]
  • H.R.1566To amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to require that equitable distribution of assistance include equitable distribution to Indian tribes and tribal organizations and to increase amounts reserved for allotment to Indian tribes and tribal organizations under certain circumstances, and to provide for a Government Accountability Office report on child abuse and neglect in American Indian tribal communities. Sponsor:Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3]
  • H.R.1547To improve the financial literacy of secondary school students. Sponsor:Rep. Cartwright, Matt [D-PA-8]
  • H.R.1498To require that local educational agencies disclose negotiations with teacher unions as a condition for eligibility to receive funds under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund of the Education Stabilization Fund of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021. Sponsor:Rep. Good, Bob [R-VA-5]
  • H.R.1433To reauthorize the Helen Keller National Center for Youths and Adults Who Are Deaf-Blind. Sponsor:Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2]
  • H.R.1418To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide grants to local educational agencies to establish “Family Friendly School” policies at 500 elementary schools that align the school day with the work day to better support working families and to disseminate the learnings from these model schools so that other local educational agencies may adopt these practices, and to establish a supplemental 21st century community learning centers grant program to support programs and activities during summer recess when school is not in session. Sponsor:Rep. Morelle, Joseph D. [D-NY-25]

Discretionary Grants

USED published notice on a discretionary grant program for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education:

  • “Indian Education Discretionary Grants Programs – Professional Development Grants Program”– The Indian Education Professional Development Grant programs seeks to increase the number of qualified Indian individuals in professions that serve Indians, as well as to provide training to qualified Indian individuals to become teachers and administrators. The estimated available funds for this program total $7,809,000, with no award exceeding $400,000 for the first, second, or third 12-month budget period. Applications are due by May 3, 2021, and further information is available here
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Bill Introductions – Week-ending March 5, 2021

Bill Introductions HF 1685-1953 and SF 1520-1802

The following bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature March 1-5, 2021.  Every Friday, we will publish bills that have been introduced during the week.

We hope that you monitor these posts, as it keeps you updated and informed about the bills under consideration that may impact school boards and school districts across the state.  Whether it is a new mandate, or more/less funding for certain programs it is important for you to know how these bills may impact your district. http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/Bill-Intros-3-5-2021.pdf

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Federal Weekly Update

Congressional Update 

House Moves Forward with Pandemic Relief 

On Monday, February 22, the House Budget Committee passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021—legislation modeled off of President Biden’s recent $1.9 trillion proposalto respond to the ongoing pandemic. The committee advanced the bill along party lines (19-14) as part of the “budget reconciliation” process which allows lawmakers to pass legislation with simple majorities in both legislative chambers. If passed, the American Rescue Plan Act would provide nearly $130 billion in additional pandemic relief for the K-12 community via the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund, $7.6 billion in funding to connect students to home broadband and devices, and nearly $350 billion in aid for State, Local, and Tribal governments. 

Having cleared the House Budget Committee, the bill will now be considered by the full House Chamber today where it is expected to pass – late tonight or on Saturday – along party lines. Concurrent to this effort in the House, the Senate parliamentarian is currently examining various provisions contained in the legislation to ensure they meet the requirements of the budget reconciliation process in that chamber. While the K-12, broadband, and state and local governmental funding noted above is expected to be included in final legislation considered by the Senate sometime next week, provisions such as a proposed federal minimum wage increase contained in the bill will likely be stripped out of the final legislative package based on a ruling by the parliamentarian prior to Senators voting on the American Rescue Plan Act. This action would likely lower the overall cost of the plan. 

House Republicans Request Information from CCSSO

On Thursday, February 25, the Ranking Member of the House Education and Labor Committee Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), along with Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), sent a letterto the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) requesting several pieces of information related to the reopening of K-12 schools. The letter encourages the organization to convene education chiefs to further collaborate and identify common challenges as states seek to re-open schools. As part of this effort, the letter requests information about school re-openings to date, how states have been working to reopen schools and communicating these plans, and how states are monitoring the use of pandemic relief funds as part of these efforts. 

FCC Approves Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules for implementing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP). Congress created the EBBP in December. The initiative will offer eligible low-income households with discounts of up to $50 per month for broadband service and up to $75 per month if the household is on Tribal lands. The program also includes a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households. Although the funding does not flow through school districts, district leaders may want to consider notifying families and their students that they may be eligible for these discounts.

Administration Update 

USED Issues New ESSA Guidance 

On Monday, February 22, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) sent a letterto Chief State School Officers regarding assessment, accountability, and reporting requirements as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The letter indicates that the department will waive several ESSA accountability requirements for the current 2020-21 school year. At the same time, USED’s letter emphasizes that the department will not grant “blanket waivers” of ESSA’s assessment requirements. Instead, USED encourages states to explore and apply for additional flexibilities regarding the upcoming spring administration of ESSA-mandated assessments. Specifically, the letter suggests states consider offering shorter exams, using remote administration, or extending testing windows to the greatest extent possible to ensure a statewide assessment administration takes place this spring. USED will make a waiver application template available shortly which will provide states with a clear path forward for how to apply for these (and potentially additional) flexibilities in the coming weeks and months ahead. 

Cardona Inches Closer to Confirmation 

On Thursday, February 25, the Senate agreed to limit further debate about Miguel Cardona’s nomination as Education Secretary, clearing a path for his likely confirmation. Senators voted 66-32 in favor of moving Cardona’s nomination forward with sixteen Republican Senators supporting this important procedural step. Cardona is expected to win final approval in the Senate by similar margins early next week. 

Bills

  • S.396A bill to promote registered apprenticeships, including registered apprenticeships within in-demand industry sectors, through the support of workforce intermediaries, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]
  • S.385A bill to improve the full-service community school program, and for other purposes.Sponsor:Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]
  • S.383A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 regarding proprietary institutions of higher education in order to protect students and taxpayers. Sponsor:Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL]
  • S.342A bill to advance STEM education, provide for improved worker training, retention, and advancement, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Sen. Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV]
  • H.R.1213To require elementary schools and secondary schools to provide an option for safe, in-person attendance during school years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Sponsor:Rep. Allen, Rick W. [R-GA-12]
  • H.R.1139To reimburse meals and supplements provided to individuals who have not attained the age of 25 under certain meal programs authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Rep. Jayapal, Pramila [D-WA-7]
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Bill Introductions – Week-ending February 26, 2021

Bill Introductions HF 1349-1684 and SF 1213-1519

The following bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature February 22-26, 2021.  Every Friday, we will publish bills that have been introduced during the week.

We hope that you monitor these posts, as it keeps you updated and informed about the bills under consideration that may impact school boards and school districts across the state.  Whether it is a new mandate, or more/less funding for certain programs it is important for you to know how these bills may impact your district. http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/Bill-Intros-2-26-2021.pdf

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Federal Weekly Update

Congressional Update 

House Moves Forward with Pandemic Relief/NSBA Sends Letter to Budget Committee  

Late last week, several House committees finalized their respective pieces of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package modeled on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. These efforts are part of a wider “budget reconciliation” process that allows lawmakers to advance legislation with simple majorities in both legislative chambers. As part of this effort and in addition to the $130 billion in proposed emergency aidfor the K-12 community finalized last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a measurethat would provide $7.6 billion in funding to the E-rate program. The bill also would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop rules allowing schools and libraries to use a portion of these funds to purchase connectivity equipment. Late Friday, February 12, the House Oversight Committee approved their componentof the forthcoming reconciliation package which aims to provide nearly $350 billion in aid for State, Local, and Tribal governments—a proposal that, if passed, would likely positively impact state K-12 education budgets as well.  

In total, House committees of jurisdiction have now cleared nine separate legislative components that constitute President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Having now assembled them into a single package, the House Budget Committee will hold a virtual markupon Monday, February 22, to formally consider this legislation. The measure is expected to pass and advance for consideration on the House floor following this markup and related vote next week.  The House Education and Labor Committee released a preliminary estimate of a state-by-state breakdownof the education funding in the proposed bill. 

Today, in anticipation of the markup of the legislation on Monday, NSBA sent a letterto the U.S. House Budget Committee in support of several measures that will help students, schools, and their communities in the COVID-19 recovery package. Specifically, NSBA noted the legislation would provide targeted assistance for secure, healthy learning environments, including resources to help mitigate loss of learning, services for social and emotional needs, and broadband connectivity for students impacted by the digital divide as well as provide supports for school districts and other public sector employers for COVID-related emergency employee leave and additional supports for our most vulnerable students to address equity in education. 

Senate Appropriations Roster Announced 

On Friday, February 12, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Leahy (D-VT) and Vice Chair Shelby (R-AL) announced the rosters, including the respective chairs and ranking members, for each of the subcommittees that oversee various components of the federal budget, including education. Of note, Senator Murray (D-WA) will serve as Chairwoman, once again, for the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee—the panel overseeing all education spending in the Senate. Senator Blunt (R-MO) will serve as Ranking Member. More information can be found here

Administration Update 

CDC and USED Issue Updated School Reopening Guidance 

As referenced in last week’s update, on Friday, February 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidanceto help states, districts, and schools reopen safely for in-person instruction. Dubbed an “operational strategy,” the CDC argues that “Evidence suggests that many K-12 schools that have strictly implemented mitigation strategies have been able to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open.” The new guidelines provide a series of recommendations organized around several “essential elements” including: 

·      Consistent implementation of layered mitigation strategies to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools

·      Indicators of community transmission to reflect level of community risk

·      Phased mitigation and learning modes based on levels of community transmission

·      Testing to identify individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection to limit transmission and outbreaks

·      Vaccination for teachers and school staff, and in communities, as soon as supply allows

In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) also released a handbookdetailing strategies for safely reopening K-12 schools. The document emphasizes safe practices for in-person learning and considerations for extracurricular activities and transportation, among other elements, in determining how best to reopen a school. While both guidance documents underscore the need to prioritize vaccinations for K-12 school professionals and staff, the administration has stopped short of calling for widespread vaccinations prior to reopening schools—a position echoedby Dr. Anthony Fauci this week. 

            FCC Comment Deadline Approaching

Final input from the public is due February 23 in response to a recent public noticefrom the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the E-rate program. The notice is seeking input on potential changes to the E-rate program that would broaden the allowable uses of E-rate funding to better support remote learning during the pandemic. At present, E-rate funds cannot be used to support activities aimed at increasing broadband access unless they are directly on a school or library campus. Earlier this month, NSBA and several other organizations filed a petitioncalling on the agency to allow E-rate funds to be used “off campus” to more effectively support remote learning during the ongoing pandemic. This petition led to the current request by the FCC for public comments. If granted, this temporary rule change could help an estimated 16 million students who lack internet connectivity at home connect to the internet and close the homework gap. 

Bills

  • H.R.1054To require the Secretary of Education to provide assistance to the immediate family of elementary or secondary school staff members killed in an act of violence while performing school duties. Sponsor:Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20]
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Bill Introductions – Week-ending February 19, 2021

Bill Introductions HF 1080-1348 and SF 976-1212

The following bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature February 15-19, 2021.  Every Friday, we will publish bills that have been introduced during the week.

We hope that you monitor these posts, as it keeps you updated and informed about the bills under consideration that may impact school boards and school districts across the state.  Whether it is a new mandate, or more/less funding for certain programs it is important for you to know how these bills may impact your district. http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/Bill-Intros-2-19-2021.pdf

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Governor Walz orders flags at half-staff in honor of lives lost to COVID-19

Governor Tim Walz has directed all flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, February 19, 2021.

Governor Walz has directed flags to fly at half-staff on the 19th of every month to remember, mourn, and honor lives lost due to COVID-19.

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Federal Weekly Update

Congressional Update 

House Committees Advance Key Pandemic Funding Measures for K-12 Schools and to Help Close the Homework Gap

This week, lawmakers in the House took the first steps to pass major components of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan—a $1.9 trillion proposal that seeks to comprehensively respond to the ongoing pandemic. While nearly all Democratic lawmakers support the proposal, many of their Republican counterparts are not supportive. Although Democrats control both Chambers of Congress, their majority in the Senate is extremely narrow. As a result, the Democratic Congressional majority is making use of a legislative process, known as “budget reconciliation,” to pass this proposal with simple majorities in both chambers—a move that would circumvent a likely Republican filibuster in the Senate (it was last used by Republicans in 2017 to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). Last week, both the House and the Senate took the first steps in this process by passing separate budget resolutions. These resolutions provided instructions to the committees of jurisdiction to develop legislation that aligns with President Biden’s pandemic relief plan. 

This week, several House Committees moved forward with these efforts. On Tuesday, February 9, the House Education and Labor Committee marked up legislationthat would provide nearly $130 billion in additional emergency aid for the K-12 community. These funds would be distributed via the existing Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding stream. All the existing allowable uses of funds and related requirements for the ESSER fund would apply except that:

  • States would be required to set-aside at least five percent of their ESSER allocation to support evidence-based interventions that address learning loss and 
  • School districts receiving funds would be required to use at least 20 percent of their local allocation for similar activities to address student learning loss. 

In addition to these changes, the bill would also explicitly tie the treatment of these funds to existing requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) delineating how to share resources with nonpublic schools (a provision known as equitable services). Significantly, the bill would also require states and local school districts to adhere to both a Maintenance of Equity and a Maintenance of Effort provision—requirements that would compel states and districts to maintain previous spending levels and prevent additional reductions of funding to fall on districts serving students most in need in exchange for this funding. The committee considered over 30 amendments on Tuesday during a 13-hour markup hearing which did not significantly change the underlying bill. The legislation was passed along party lines, 27-21, and was sent back to the House Budget committee to be included in a single legislative package at a later date.  

Concurrent to this effort, both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform have also been marking up their own legislative proposals. Late Friday evening, the Energy and Commerce Committee passed COVID-19 relief budget reconciliation legislationthat will provide 7.6 billion to expand internet connectivity for students and teachers without internet access. This is a tremendous victory towards helping close the digital divide in education, commonly called the homework gap, at least short-term during the pandemic. There still needs to be a long-term focus on the problem but this is an important victory for millions of public school students.

Senate Education Committee Moves Cardona Nomination Forward 

On Thursday, February 11, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted 17-5 to approve Miguel Cardona’s nomination to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education. Cardona earned supportive remarks from both Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) who noted during the vote that he possessed the “background, qualifications, [and] temperament to serve” as the next head of the U.S. Department of Education. Senators Paul (R-KY), Braun (R-IN), Marshall (R-KS), Scott (R-SC), and Tuberville (R-AL) voted against the nominee. Cardona’s nomination now advances to the Senate floor for a full vote. While his nomination is expected to be approved, it remains unclear when it will be considered due to the ongoing second impeachment trial of formerPresident Trump.

Administration Update 

CDC/U.S. Department of Education Release Guidance on Reopening Schools

Today, the Biden administration released two documents offering suggested guidance on reopening schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its science-based recommendationson reopening schools. This update is a data-driven effort to expand on old recommendations and advise school leaders on how to “layer” the most effective safety precautions: masking, physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, ventilation and building cleaning, and contact tracing. The U.S. Department of Education released its ED COVID-19 Handbookto support the education community with implementation guidance, strategies, and considerations to help reopen schools safely. 

NSBA Executive Director & CEO Anna Maria Chávez released a statement recognizing the guidance and recommendations for acknowledging every community is different and that schools have already demonstrated flexibility this year. Read the full statement.

Education Groups Submit E-Rate Petition FCC on Cybersecurity

On Monday, February 8, several education groups submitted a petitionto the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling on them to expand the allowable uses of E-rate funding to include the costs associated with hardening digital security protections for K-12 schools and districts. The petitioners argue that the FCC must make these changes because, “Cyberattacks [on K-12 schools] have become so pronounced that they represent a material threat to the educational broadband access that Congress intended to facilitate through the E-rate program.” In addition, the petition includes an E-rate cybersecurity cost estimatorthat proposes three tiers of cybersecurity protections, alongside their respective costs, that would be needed to fully protect school districts. 

Bills

  • S.284A bill to support the provision of library services and technology to meet the needs stemming from the coronavirus. Sponsor: Sen. Reed, Jack [D-RI]
  • S.251A bill to provide that for purposes of determining compliance with title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in athletics, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth. Sponsor: Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT]
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