Senator Lamar Alexander is the Chair of the US Senate's Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions. ICEUFT gets his press releases for some reason. Senator Alexander recently had a conversation with about 90 college presidents from his home state of Tennesee. Here is part of the press release Alexander issued on reopening schools and colleges:
Senator Alexander concluded: “The concerns that came back to me in our call were three things. One, every president asked about liability. They don't want to be sued if they reopen their school and a student gets sick. And I told them that Senator McConnell has said, and I believe every Republican Senator agrees, and I hope many Democrats do as well, that we won't pass another COVID-19 bill unless it has some liability protection for colleges and schools as well as businesses and others who are trying to reopen and help our country get back to normal. The second question we heard a lot about was testing. And third, I heard comments from presidents who would like to have more flexibility in any funding that we provide for colleges and in the funding that we've already provided.”
We now know the Republican price for federal money to bail out states, including schools: no wrongful death lawsuits.
The NYC Department of Education protected from lawsuits? Are you serious? If there are no liability worries, I am confident NYC school buildings will be open at least partially in September.
It's too easy here to throw a cheap shot at Michael Mulgrew telling us to get our wills in order at yesterday's town hall. I don't think he meant to tell us we better be ready to die in the fall. Nevertheless, liability protection for the DOE may be a very steep price to pay for federal money to reopen school buildings and support the states. It's funny how Mulgrew didn't mention this when he told everyone to join the committee to fight for that federal money. He made it as if it isn't a red vs blue issue. It certainly is.