New Government Watchdog Report: Students Impacted by Disasters Hurt More by Pandemic

October 14, 2020
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Gregorio Kilili Sablan (Mariana Islands) issued the following statement after the Government Accountability Office released a report finding that the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered and worsened K-12 schools’ recovery from recent natural disasters across the country.

“The GAO’s new report confirms that the failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic has not only kept schools closed, but also compounded their long and difficult recovery from recent wildfires, storms, and other natural disasters.

“We know that schools offer students critical services beyond academic instruction, including nutrition assistance and social and emotional learning.  But, during natural disasters, our schools also serve as anchors in the community where children and families can access food, shelter, and other critical services.

“Regrettably, without sufficient federal support, disaster-hit schools are struggling to recover from both natural disasters and the pandemic.  Students are suffering from the trauma of homelessness, losing quality instruction and social learning due to the virus, and grappling with anxiety caused by fires and typhoons.

“To be clear, addressing climate change and fairly funding public education can mitigate much of students’ trauma in the first place.  That is why Senate Republicans must stop playing politics and finally pass the updated Heroes Act and the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act to help our communities overcome the impact of the virus on the education system and our children.” 

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