DC Shuttle …
Hearings/Markups of Interest. The House Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a hearing Charting the Path to Educational Equity Post-COVID-19 on Thursday, March 25 at 1 p.m. via Zoom.
CDC Releases Updated School Safety Guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines for physical distancing schools from six feet down to three feet between masked students. The reduced distancing clears the way for more students to resume in-person learning in reopened classrooms. Universal masking in the classroom would still be needed to safely use three feet of distance, rather than the previously recommended six feet between people in schools, the CDC said. According to the guidance, all elementary schools can adhere to the three-feet guidance without major risks, as can middle and high schools in communities where transmission is low, moderate or substantial, The Hill reports.
Administration Announces Funds for School Reopening. The Biden administration announced that it will invest $12.3 billion in COVID-19 testing expansions, with $10 billion going to help schools reopen for in-person learning. The remaining $2.3 billion will be used to help address disparities and improve data collection, according to a news release. Final state-by-state allocations for those funds are expected in early April.
Senators Introduce Bill on Student Loan Repayment. U.S. Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Richard Burr (R-NC) reintroduced the Repay Act, bipartisan legislation to reform federal student loan repayment programs. This legislation would simplify and streamline the current repayment programs by establishing two easy-to-navigate repayment plans. Under the legislation, borrowers would choose either a fixed, 10-year repayment plan, or a single, simplified income-driven repayment option. King and Burr previously introduced this legislation in 2015 and 2017.
Bill Introduced In House to Address Rural Teacher Shortage. U.S. Reps. Jared Golden (D-ME) and Mike Bost (R-IL) introduced the Rural Education Investment Act to address teacher shortages in rural schools. The legislation would require the U.S. Department of Education to increase the share of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant funding for rural areas so that it matches the percentage of K-12 students living there.
House Passes Pathway to Citizenship. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 229 to 197 to approve the American Dream and Promise Act, which provides a path to permanent residency for young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. as children, as well as for individuals who hold temporary protected or deferred enforced departure status due to unsafe conditions in their home countries. Nine Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill, though it remains unlikely that it would have enough Republican support to reach 60 votes in the U.S. Senate.
We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of March 22, 2021. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.