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Ohio Representatives introduce bipartisan bill to get kids back to school safely in the fall

They want DHHS to conduct a study on how children spread COVID-19
The school year is coming to an end in South Carolina and school districts are making...
The school year is coming to an end in South Carolina and school districts are making preparations to bring teachers and staff back into the buildings.(Live 5 News)
Updated: May. 27, 2020 at 10:36 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOIO) - Since March kids have been forced to depend on technology to continue their education.

Whether that’s a Zoom chat with their teachers and peers, doing online assignments or taking lessons from a parent; it’s a huge adjustment for everyone involved.

“Our parents are not teachers themselves most of the time,” said Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. “Many of them work, both parents or if you’re a single mom or dad and to compound all of that with having to home school, it’s just been incredibly difficult.”

On Wednesday, Rep. Gonzalez and Rep. Marcia Fudge introduced a bill with the goal of helping schools reopen safely by the fall.

“For our wealthiest families they’re probably gonna find a way to figure it out,” Gonzalez said. “They will have private tutors or they will create little learning pods or whatever it is but you go into urban Cleveland, you got into sone of our more rural areas where folks don’t have those resources what are they gonna do?”

The Protect Our Children from COVID-19 act requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study and report on the role children play in spreading COVID-19. It also requires DHHS to use that information to come up with the best practices for school systems to reopen and operate schools safely.

“The real question is are they gonna spread it to teachers, are they gonna spread it to parents? So, our goal is to task the CDC with studying the answer to that very specific question so that we can reopen the schools, reopen them safely and we can keep them open,” explained Gonzalez.

Rep. Gonzalez said he is worried about what will happen if kids don’t go back to school.

“We also know that the first line of defense from an abuse standpoint tends to be at the school with trusted coaches, trusted teacher or administrator or whatever it is that first spots it,” Gonzalez said. “The reports of those are down and it is not because it is not happening it’s because kids aren’t going to school. It’s also a place where kids get meals.”

We asked Rep. Gonzales if he thought three months was enough time to get the data needed to reopen schools safely.

“I believe that we can and again it is a tight timeline but look it’s hard for me to find something more important than keeping our schools open and safe,” Gonzalez said.

Rep. Gonzalez said his goal is to have the bill on the calendar by next month, so they have enough time to conduct the study over the summer.

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