MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Assembly Republicans urged Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Monday to diver more federal COVID-19 relief dollars to schools offering in-person instruction.
Evers ordered schools closed in March as the pandemic was seizing the state. The governor has since allowed local school districts to decide whether to offer in-person instruction, online instruction or a hybrid model. Republicans have been pushing for a broad return to in-person classes. Last month the Legislature’s powerful budget committee shifted $65.5 million in federal aid for schools that offer in-person instruction.
A group of GOP Assembly members led by budget committee Co-Chairman Mark Born held a news conference in the state Capitol to urge Evers to use more discretionary funding from the CARES Act to defray costs for in-person schools. They said those schools are racking up costs for substitute teachers, personal protective equipment and bus transportation. They argued multiple studies show children learn better in-person than virtually and school-age children make up a relatively small percentage of cases in the state.
As of Monday, children younger than nine years old made up 4.2% of the state’s total infections, according to the state Department of Health Services. Children between ages 10 and 19 made up 11.6%.
Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.