Feb 04 2021
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement after Senate Democrats voted against a common sense amendment to the budget resolution to prohibit federal COVID relief funds from going to schools that do not reopen after teachers are vaccinated. Yesterday, Rubio introduced the Put Students First Act of 2021, legislation which would prohibit federal funding to schools that do not provide an in-person learning option by April 30, 2021. In January, leading health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that America’s schools should reopen as soon as possible if precautions are taken – namely mask-wearing and social distancing – and that new scientific research provides "a path forward to maintain or return primarily or fully to in-person instructional delivery." Additionally, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky reiterated in a press conference yesterday that “vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools” and that is clear “that there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen.”
“The science is clear: in-person learning is safe,” Rubio said. “Senate Democrats refuse to make reopening schools a priority even though our kids continue to suffer irreversible harm from school closures going on a year. While teachers unions hold our students hostage, Republicans want to put our kids first, but Democrats are engaged in a partisan, anti-science charade that hurts our kids, hurts their parents, and hurts the country. It is time to put students first and reopen our schools.”
Rubio previewed the legislation in an op-ed, writing that if “a school continues to cave to the unions at the expense of their students, they should not receive funding” and “that funding should be rescinded and directed to school choice and the reopening plans of schools that are prioritizing their students’ needs.”A one-pager of Rubio’s Put Students First Act of 2021 is available here and the text is available here.