Lawmakers stalled on coronavirus aid amid push for fall school

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With the school year just weeks away, and the last round of coronavirus relief money running out, many are worried schools aren’t prepared for a safe return.

“We want to get back to in-person instruction safely, but that’s going to require funding,” said, Lindsey Jensen, an 12th grade teacher in Illinois. “Educators are not sacrificial lambs.”

She says the federal government must act to protect teachers and students if they’re to safely return to the classroom.

“This should not be a political issue,” Jensen said.

Jensen says fortunately, her rural district has some money left from the last aid package, but she says larger districts are scrambling

“We need the proper ppe (personal protective equiptment), but you know, some schools, they’re going to require extra buses, extra bus drivers, extra bus routes. Other schools might require more teachers,” Jenson said.

“It’s in the hands of Mitch McConnell and it’s time to get the job done,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said.

Bustos says the fastest way to help cash-strapped schools is for Senate Republicans to vote for the Heroes Act, which passed the House two months ago.

“That would provide another $100 billion for students and schools at a time when resources are desperately needed,” Bustos said.

But Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis says Republicans won’t support the bill.

Davis says Congress must draft a bipartisan bill that can actually become law.

Nexstar asked Davis if there should be a sense of urgency.

“There’s urgency to get something done once we get a chance to see what still needs to be done,” Davis said.

Davis says he wants a package passed this month, but so far, lawmakers seem unable to negotiate an agreement.

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