(WASHINGTON) – Chairman of the Republican Study Committee Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) introduced a resolution on Thursday expressing the sense of the U.S. House of Representatives that schools across the country should be open for in-person instruction.
“For nearly a year now, our country’s leading experts have gathered data on the effects of COVID-19 as well as the consequences of remote learning on our children,” said Banks. “Every possible metric indicates that young people need in-person instruction and that failure to do so has disastrous consequences. School districts nationwide must remain open.”
The Keep Our Schools Open Resolution is introduced on the heels of additional data further suggesting that in-person instruction for children is both necessary and safe.
Banks says virtual learning has failed. Data suggest that school closings have only exacerbated a decline in the mental health of young people. Millions of K-12 students lack adequate access to virtual learning and students, more generally, are falling behind.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that mental health-related emergency department visits in 2020 were up 24 percent in children ages 5 to 11 and up by 31 percent in 12 to 17-year olds compared to 2019. School districts nationwide have reported “suicide clusters” and many schools report struggling to connect students with services.
As high as 20 percent of American students lack access to the technology needed for remote learning, and, on average, K-12 students have already suffered an average of seven months of “learning loss.”
Moreover, the CDC reported this week that schools operating in person with precautions in place have seen scant transmission of the coronavirus.