Sinema called for school telehealth resources so Arizona students learning online during the pandemic can continue to access care
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Cory Gardner (CO) called for support for school telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure Arizona students learning online or at a distance can continue to access critical health care services.
“Ensuring Arizona students can continue to access online health services and distance learning will help keep our students healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Sinema.
Sinema’s letter urges Senate leaders to support school-based telehealth funding in future coronavirus relief legislation. As Arizona schools begin the school year largely distance-learning, students have lost access to many health care services that schools provide. Over 2.8 million Arizonans live in a primary care shortage area. An increase in funding to support telehealth in schools would help connect students without access to primary care doctors to health services. In her letter, Sinema highlighted schools partnering with community health centers and Arizona’s Roosevelt School District, which successfully began a pilot telehealth program for its schools before the coronavirus pandemic.
Read Sinema’s letter HERE.
Sinema has also called for additional funding for the Elementary and Secondary Education Relief Fund in any future coronavirus relief package. The CARES Act provided critical education funding, but more is needed to help cover the additional costs for this school year while also ensuring that schools nationwide will be ready to safely reopen for in-class learning when it is safe to do so. K-12 schools are facing added expenses this year amidst budget cuts and declining state and local revenue.
Sinema has previously called on the U.S. Departments of Interior and Education to distribute the already-approved $222 million CARES Act funding to support Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, Sinema helped introduce the Emergency Educational Connections Act—legislation that provides $4 billion in federal support for tribal schools and libraries to provide Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and internet-enabled devices (as well as internet service through such equipment) to students, staff, and patrons.
Sinema has also added a resources page to her website, www.sinema.senate.gov/corona, for Arizonans looking for the latest information on coronavirus.