When will schools reopen?
That's what parents, students, and educators across the country have been asking themselves since the coronavirus pandemic swept into the U.S. nearly a year ago.
When will it be safe to reopen schools? When will our children get to experience some semblance of normal?
If President Biden gets his way, most schools will reopen by the end of April.
The President has said he wants most K-12 schools to reopen within the first 100 days of his term.
To make that happen, yesterday Biden signed a series of executive actions aimed at curbing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schools will now be eligible for full reimbursement for personal protective equipment. When schools spend money on supplies like masks, gowns, and gloves, they'll be reimbursed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund.
More rapid COVID-19 tests will be produced and distributed to school systems. Frequent and rapid testing has not been available at most schools so far. The new administration wants to change that.
Biden's plan also specifically calls for vaccinations for educators and robust contact tracing. The departments of Education and Health and Human Services will also work together to produce a Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse to share data and lessons learned during the pandemic.
The call to vaccinate teachers is a no-brainer. It makes sense to protect the educators responsible for caring for our children.
The push to share data and lessons learned during the pandemic will only strengthen how schools approach reopening. Armed with knowledge, educators will be able to make more informed decisions about how to keep kids safe.
"This is a wartime undertaking," Biden said.
Will schools definitely reopen by the end of April? It's hard to say. The goal is ambitious, but COVID-19 is vicious.
These executive orders will help put teachers and students back in the classroom. It's just too soon to say if schools will reopen on Biden's timeline.
Another executive order signed yesterday that could impact your family is related to travel. There's now a mandate to wear face masks on most forms of public transit. If you plan to take a bus, train, ferry, or plane, you'll need to plan to wear a mask. Make sure your masks are easily accessible before you board-you'll need to wear them inside airports, too.