This afternoon, President Joe Biden outlined new policies on vaccination and testing to keep schools and the economy open during a speech on his COVID-19 Action Plan and the Delta variant. In response, Chip Slaven, interim Executive Director and CEO of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), issued the following statement:

President Biden’s plan to curb the spread of the Delta variant comes at an extremely critical time during this pandemic.

Most schoolchildren are now back in school buildings. That’s great for students because nearly all students learn best with in-person instruction. It’s also great for parents who can return to work or begin new jobs.

But now is not the time to let down our guard or we risk losing the progress we’ve made. No one wants to close school buildings and pivot back to remote learning.

School board members around the country are doing everything they can to keep our students in classrooms and protect them while they are there. They are consulting with health experts, studying state and local caseloads and vaccination rates, and talking to parent and community members about the safest way to have students back in school.

For their hard work, school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, and others who work in service to our students are being subjected to online and in-person threats, abuse, and harassment. This must stop.

School board members are our neighbors. They attend our churches. They shop in our grocery stores. They are people who have children in the public education system and share the same concerns as the communities they represent. Doing what’s best for each child in their school district is at the heart of every decision a school board member makes. That’s why they volunteer their time.

President Biden’s plan to provide support—financial and otherwise—will allow school board members to make the necessary decisions to keep students and school staff safe.

This Saturday is the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. After the attacks, our country came together, setting aside partisan differences in pursuit of a common goal. Today, we need the same approach. President Biden’s plan provides a path for us to do so.

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