WASHINGTON – Today, Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) introduced legislation to help schools reopen safely by providing much-needed research on the role children play in transmitting the COVID-19 virus. While children appear to be less likely than adults to develop severe illness from COVID-19, it is not currently clear what role they play in transmitting the virus to other children, teachers, school staff, and family members. Critical research is needed to allow school systems and states across the country to make educated decisions about how to safely reopen their doors.
“While school closures are necessary to address the current public health crisis, many students are at risk of falling through the cracks after losing access to in-person learning and other services like school meals,” said Rep. Fudge. “Getting students back to the classroom is critical to making up for lost time, but it must be done in a way that protects the safety of students and teachers alike. By requiring research into how children contract and transmit COVID-19, this bill will help school districts make informed decisions on how to safely reopen.”
“Children and families across the country are facing significant challenges and disadvantages because of school closures, many of which have the potential to cause profound and lasting impacts on an entire generation of Americans,” said Rep. Gonzalez. “Reopening our schools this fall should be a top priority as we move forward in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, and the information gathered from this study will allow us to do so in the safest manner possible.”
The Protect our Children from COVID-19 Act requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study and report to Congress quarterly on the transmissibility of COVID-19 in children, particularly from child to child, child to adult, and adult to child. It further requires the department to report to Congress on a quarterly basis and to develop and disseminate best practices to states and school systems. This will help inform decisions on how best to reopen and operate schools in the coming year to protect children and adults in educational settings and set clear expectations for parents, teachers, and families.