WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call as the new school year in Ohio is set to begin. Brown is leading efforts to keep students, teachers and staff safe and to ensure students are able to learn effectively as many Ohio schools announce e-learning measures to start off the school year.

“As the new school year begins for many Ohio students, we need to give Ohio communities the support and the resources they need for our kids to learn safely and effectively,” said Brown. “Educators are all working hard to make sure our students don’t fall behind, but you can hear the stress and the fear in their voices when they talk about all the challenges they’re facing.”

Brown was joined on today’s conference call by Berea City Schools Superintendent Tracy Wheeler to discuss challenges faced by Ohio schools as they get set to begin a new school year. 

Brown is pushing for a number of measures to help students and schools navigate the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brown continues fighting for critical funding for public elementary and secondary education and last week, he wrote to Senate Leadership urging leaders to reject the Trump Administration’s desire to condition education funds in the next coronavirus relief package on the reopening of elementary and secondary schools for in-person instruction.

Last month, Brown introduced legislation to make sure Ohio students have reliable broadband internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown also introduced separate legislation with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), the Rural Broadband Acceleration Act, that will bolster efforts to expand access to rural broadband nationwide. Ohioans who live in low-income areas are too often at an economic and educational disadvantage due to little or no access to reliable broadband internet service. Addressing this disparity is critically important now when so many Ohio schools are announcing they will begin the school year with e-learning in place.

Last month, Brown also wrote to Senate leadership calling for funding for community schools, often called community learning centers or hubs in Ohio, which are public schools that combine academic services with a number of critical health and social services for the entire family that are especially important during the current pandemic, including medical and mental health services, access to local food banks, tutoring, after-school programs, classes for parents and guardians, and collaborative professional development for staff.

Brown also continues to call for Senate passage of the Heroes Act, which has passed the House already. The bill includes $90 billion in funding to states to support public elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. Leader McConnell and the Senate GOP continue to hold up progress on the Heroes Act and any future stimulus package.