Schools face extra costs if they plan to reopen

July 17, 2020
In The News

NORFOLK, Va. - The average school division needs an extra $1.8 million dollars to safely reopen this fall, according to the School Superintendents Association.

Local Congressman Bobby Scott is calling on Congress to help cover that expense.

"Without federal funding school districts cannot afford the personal protective equipment, soap, the hand sanitizer, the cleaning sanitation services, and many other critical measures recommended by the CDC," Scott said during a virtual round table with teachers on Friday morning.

Scott heard questions and concerns from teachers. School divisions across Hampton Roads are choosing between opening five days a week, virtual learning or a combination of the two.

"My worry or concern is which one are we going to put first: is it health or education?" questioned one Norfolk teacher.

"I don't think we're going to choose health or education," Scott responded. "If you don't get health right, you just stop right there."

The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act back in May, which sets aside money for schools and local governments. The Senate is still debating its own plan. Scott is optimistic something will pass soon.

"I think there's a good chance of something passing," he said. "I don't know if the whole thing is going to pass, but I think there's a good chance of a significant portion of it passing."

Teachers said they want answers soon to help them plan, but answers aren't always easy.

"If there's an outbreak in a school, what is the plan?" a teacher asked.

"That's a very direct question for which there is not a very direct answer," said Scott in response.