Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin Answers Questions about Returning to School
HOLLY - On August 12th, 8th District U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin held a tele-townhall meeting to speak to parents and teachers about the return to school this fall.
“There is no bigger issue facing our world right now than COVID-19,” said Slotkin.
Slotkin was joined on the call by Dr. Robert Shaner, Superintendent of Rochester Community Schools and member of Governor Whitmer’s Return to Learning Advisory Council; Dr. Phyllis Meadows, Senior Fellow, Kresge Foundation, and member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s committee on re-opening schools; Shenandoah Chefalo, faculty for Trauma Resilient Communities. They all offered physical, emotional and mental health information in regard to the pandemic.
“It is fair to say we had a mental health crisis in the state of Michigan even before COVID-19,” said Slotkin.
The tele-townhall was set up to give each speaker a time to speak and then the rest of the time was left open for questions.
Slotkin opened the meeting by addressing the real concerns that parents, teachers and students are facing. She stressed that parents look into the Family First Coronavirus Response Pack. This was passed in March and provides employees with emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave.
“Workers and organization with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive 2-weeks of paid sick leave for issues related to the coronavirus including caring for a child whose school or daycare has closed due to the coronavirus,” said Slotkin.
Dr. Shaner weighed in on the call and emphasized the need for more federal funding from Washington.
“We still need the support of Washington, particularly in the area of budget, to really get over the hump and get our kids back to in person instruction with proper risk mitigation and ensuring we are not adding to that risk,” said Shaner.
Drs. Meadows and Chefalo spoke to the effect that the coronavirus has had on the mental health of the community. They spoke about people recognizing where they are and how to get where they want to be as one of the first steps in helping get through this time.
“We are talking about people. Especially the social, emotional health of not only children, but teachers, parents and our communities as we work through coronavirus and what that means to us,” said Chefalo.
The meeting concluded with an open forum for questions and concerns voiced by callers or submitted online.