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“Yesterday was a good day for religious freedom in America. In a sweeping, 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court upheld an order from President Trump that protected religious groups from violating their deeply-held beliefs. 

“Government mandates should never conflict with a citizen’s Constitutional rights. 

“For the past several months, we have asked our citizens to temporarily change their lives in the fight against this virus. Schools were closed, businesses forced to shut down, and millions were left out of work.

“And although there is more work to do, there is uplifting news worth celebrating: 

  • Record jobs gain of 4.8 million last month
  • Over the past two months, 7.8 million jobs have been created
  • Nearly 1/3 of all jobs lost during shutdown have returned

“We are not done in our fight against this virus, but we are on the road to rebuild, restore, and renew the greatest economy in our lifetimes. We must now focus on what needs to be done to safely re-opening our schools and day care facilities. 

“The question should not be ‘if’ we open schools in America, but ‘how.’

“Our nation’s youth depends on it:

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics ‘strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the upcoming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school…’
  • Negative impacts on children because of school closures include: abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.

“We must do it for our hardworking families:

  • Too many parents have had to manage full-time jobs while also serving as teachers, coaches
  • Inaction will worsen the economic crisis 
  • Places low-income, single-parent households in difficult situations 

“Earlier this week I released a framework for how Congress can help:

  • Any additional financial relief considered should prioritize child care providers/schools
  • Liability protections
  • Temporarily allow HSAs to be used to pay for qualified child care expenses
  • Ensure HHS is conducting rapid studies – compiling and publishing existing information –  on COVID-19 transmission among children.

“To date, scientific evidence from the CDC and medical professionals across the world suggests children have a lower probability than adults of developing a serious illness from COVID-19. But we need to continue to gather data on the extent children can spread the virus to other children or their more vulnerable adult teachers and caregivers at home.

“We cannot afford to continue to jeopardize the development of an entire generation of children. I commend the work this President and the Coronavirus Task Force have done this week on putting a national spotlight on this important issue.

“If we can work to reopen bars, restaurants, and casinos, we can work together to responsibly open our schools and day cares.”