“Help Is Here” Tour Spotlights $122 Billion from Department of Education to Help Safely Reopen Schools

On Wednesday, the “Help Is Here” tour focused on highlighting the ways in which the American Rescue Plan will help quickly, safely, and equitably reopen schools for in-person learning. 

The Department of Education announced $122 billion in funding for schools across the country, providing critical resources to get students back in the classroom safely and expand opportunity for students who need it most. Education Secretary Cardona participated in a remote local media tour and spoke from the White House Briefing Room about how today’s announcement will help achieve President Biden’s goal of safely re-opening the majority of K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office. 

Additionally, the First Lady visited Christa McAuliffe School in Concord, New Hampshire to speak with educators, students, and parents about the support the American Rescue Plan provides for schools.  The Second Gentleman participated in a listening session in Albuquerque, New Mexico with working women, including parents and teachers, to discuss how the relief will increase access to childcare and put parents back to work.  

Read more about the “Help is Here” tour below: 

First Lady in Concord, New Hampshire 

NHPR: In Concord Visit, Dr. Jill Biden Tells N.H. Schools: ‘Help is Here’ 

“Dr. Jill Biden visited the Christa McAuliffe School in Concord on Wednesday to tout the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Biden last week. After visiting students, the first lady spoke of the toll that remote schooling and limited child care has had on parents, especially mothers. She promised that the millions of dollars headed to New Hampshire schools would change this.” 

Concord Monitor: Jill Biden says help is on the way for New Hampshire schools to the tune of $350 million 

“Jill Biden was the first person in the country to receive a Christa McAuliffe commemorative coin Wednesday, during a visit to New Hampshire that included a stop at the school named after the famed Concord teacher-turned-astronaut…In her remarks, Biden talked about the COVID relief bill, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for most Americans and $130 billion allocated to school reopening. New Hampshire’s K-12 schools will be receiving $350 million. ‘When schools like Christa McAuliffe are open full-time, and childcare providers are safe and affordable, parents can focus on the careers they love and support their families,’ Biden said. ‘When our neighbors can stop worrying about how they can put food on their tables or keep their homes, they can invest in their communities. They can make towns and cities better for everyone.’ 

MWUR: First lady Jill Biden speaks in Concord to promote COVID-19 relief plan 

“First lady Jill Biden visited the Granite State on Wednesday as part of the Biden administration’s “Help is Here Tour” to promote the American Rescue Plan and funding for schools…Speaking about the American Rescue Plan, Biden said the relief bill will provide support to American families. ‘For many, this is going to be the difference between putting food on the table and going hungry,’ she said.” 

Boston25 News: First lady Jill Biden speaks in Concord to promote COVID-19 relief plan 

“First lady Jill Biden toured the Christa McAuliffe School in Concord, New Hampshire Wednesday afternoon. Her visit included stopping by a 5th-grade classroom. ‘You know, as a teacher for over 30 years, I feel most at home in a classroom,’ she said. Biden’s trip is part of the White House’s Help Is Here tour to highlight the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The Covid-19 relief plan, which was signed into law by President Biden last week, will provide most Americans with $1,400 direct payments. It also provides $130 billion to deliver on the president’s goal of opening the majority of K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office. ‘We are going to safely reopen our schools. We are going to get people back to work. We are going to lift up the families that are struggling just to get by and we are going to be stronger than ever,’ Biden said.” 

NBC10 Boston: ‘Help Is Here’: First Lady Jill Biden Visits NH School on COVID Rescue Package Tour 

“First lady Jill Biden on Wednesday visited a New Hampshire elementary school that was named after a woman who was chosen to be America’s ‘Teacher in Space.’ The trip was part of the “Help is Here” tour to amplify the American Rescue Plan, which provides $130 billion to help schools achieve President Joe Biden’s goal to open the majority of K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office. ‘There can be no recovery without a place for working parents to send their children,’ Biden said, after touting the COVID stimulus payments that many Americans received Wednesday…The first lady referred to McAuliffe’s phrase, “I touch the future. I teach,” which is inscribed on the coin, in thanking all the educators who are struggling to help their students through the pandemic.” 

Boston Globe: First Lady Jill Biden visits N.H. as part of COVID stimulus bill victory tour 

“The first lady had just one official event in New Hampshire, at Concord’s Christa McAuliffe School, a public elementary school named after the teacher who died during the Challenger Space Shuttle accident in 1986. That school is currently in a hybrid model of half-time in-person learning and half remote. ‘This school, like schools across the country, can’t fully reopen without help,” said Biden to a small group at sitting socially distanced in the school’s cafeteria. “So today, I’m here to tell you, with the American rescue plan. Help is here.'” 

Second Gentleman in Albuquerque, New Mexico 

AP: Vice president’s husband touts relief package in New Mexico 

“Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, made his first solo trip as the nation’s second gentleman Wednesday, stopping at a vaccination clinic in an Indigenous community in northern New Mexico and later meeting with a group of working mothers as part of an effort to promote the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. Looking east toward snowcapped mountains, Emhoff told tribal leaders that it was an honor for Kewa Pueblo to be his first stop in the state as he and other top Democrats have spent the last few days traveling and talking about the funding that will be trickling down to families, businesses, tribes, cities and state governments over the coming months.” 

CBS Albuquerque: Nation’s first-ever Second Gentleman makes his first solo trip to New Mexico 

“Wednesday SGOTUS Doug Emhoff talked about how the American Rescue Plan will benefit New Mexico, including providing $20 billion in emergency funding for tribal governments. He also toured a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Santo Domingo Health Center in the Kewa Pueblo. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Kewa Pueblo Governor Sedelio Tenorio, Sr. joined him during the tour…He also spoke with people getting the COVID-19 vaccine shot and heard how the health center transformed into a vaccination cite. “Get the vaccine when it’s your turn as they’re doing here because it will save your life and save the lives of others,” said Emhoff.” 

Indian Country Today: Vice president’s husband visits pueblo leaders 
“Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, met with five pueblo leaders in New Mexico on Wednesday as part of President Joe Biden’s “Help is Here” tour. Emhoff also toured the Kewa Pueblo’s Santo Domingo Health Center, where the majority of tribal citizens have been vaccinated. He was joined by Kewa Pueblo Gov. Sedelio Tenotio Sr. and state Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Emhoff watched a patient at the center be vaccinated, according to a press pool report. “I bet you didn’t expect your second shot to be in front of the entire world,” Emhoff said to the patient. ‘Get the shot when it’s your turn because it will save your life and the lives of others.'” 

Education Secretary Cardona in Washington, D.C. 

NBC News: Education Secretary Cardona says expanding testing, vaccines will help keep schools open 

“The administration has spent the past week touting its $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which allocates $122 billion for the nation’s public schools to reopen safely as testing capabilities and vaccine availability expands. At Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Cardona told reporters that expanding coronavirus testing for teachers, staff and students and organizing a virtual summit for educators to share “best practices” is part of the administration’s push to keep schools open. ‘Our students have shown a level of resilience that is impressive. It’s inspiring. And we need to respond by reopening our schools safely,’ he said. ‘But when we do that, we need to make sure that through this American Rescue Plan, we utilize those resources to provide intervention and support, not only with the academic but almost more importantly the social and emotional needs that our students are going to come to school with.'” 

CBS Richmond: US Education Secretary explains impact of the American Relief Plan on Central Virginia schools 

“The American Relief Plan (ARP) signed into law by President Joe Biden last week doesn’t just provide stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits and Covid Vaccine aid. It also provides more $130 billion for schools across the country, including $2.1 billion for Virginia Schools. In an interview Wednesday, US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said that money will help schools move from virtual education back into the classroom.” 

NBC Connecticut: U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Discusses Education During White House Briefing 

“U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona took part in his first White House press briefing on Wednesday afternoon to talk about funding schools will receive to help them reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cardona said he notified the states and territories of how much funding they will be receiving from the American Rescue Plan, totaling nearly $122 billion to help them reopen safely. ‘I’m also pleased to share that HHS is allocating an additional $10 billion for states to do screening and surveillance testing in schools to make sure we can not only open our schools but keep them open,’ Cardona said. 

CBS News: Biden administration says $122 billion of COVID relief will go to schools: “This spring, we want our students back in school” 

“The Biden administration is ramping up efforts to support schools reopening, announcing Wednesday that schools will receive $122 billion in COVID-19 relief funding. ‘My priority right now is to safely reopen as many schools right now, as quickly as possible,’ said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, as he joined White House press secretary Jen Psaki for her daily briefing.” 

Biden Administration Announces Resources to Expand COVID Testing 

New York Times: White House to Spend Billions to Increase Virus Testing and Ease Reopening 
“The Biden administration, moving to address a lag in coronavirus testing that is hindering the reopening of schools and the economy, said Wednesday that it would invest $10 billion to ramp up screening of students and educators with the goal of returning to in-person learning by the end of the school year…Mr. Biden’s education secretary, Miguel A. Cardona, said Wednesday that the department would have a ‘national reopening summit for schools’ next week, and would outline ‘best practices from across the country on how to do this safely and how to do it quickly.'” 

Washington Post: Education officials say billions of dollars will be distributed to schools this month to help with reopenings 

“The Education Department is distributing $122 billion to public K-12 schools and released a list showing how much each state and territory will receive. The Department of Health and Human Services did the same for its distribution of $10 billion for school-based coronavirus testing. In a letter to state school chiefs sent Tuesday, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that his agency will move the emergency funding quickly and that states should act ‘with this same sense of urgency.'” 

ABC News: Biden administration to allocate billions toward COVID-19 testing for schools  

“‘This pandemic has taken an extraordinary toll on students, parents, educators, and schools, and we know that our schools, students, and communities need help now to reopen safely and quickly, and to stay open,” Cardona said in a statement. ‘These funds from the American Rescue Plan and the extraordinary steps the Department is taking to get these resources to States quickly will allow schools to invest in mitigation strategies to get students back in the classroom and stay there, and address the many impacts this pandemic has had on students — especially those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.'” 

NBC News: Biden administration to provide $10 billion to school Covid-19 testing program to speed reopening 

“The Biden administration is directing $10 billion from the recently passed stimulus package toward increased Covid-19 testing in schools, as the White House grapples with the difficult task of getting the nation’s school children back into classrooms. The testing funds are the latest efforts by the Biden administration to push schools to reopen. This month, President Joe Biden directed states to prioritize teachers for vaccinations, and all states now include teachers as a priority group. The administration also allocated $650 million this month for testing in K-8 schools and underserved congregate settings, like homeless shelters.” 

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