Although the CARES Act has received the most attention, it was the last of three COVID-19 federal bills passed in quick succession with overwhelming bi-partisan majorities. Of the other two, HR6201 has implications for schools and employees.

Here’s a look at the bills passed and a potential fourth bill in:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

HR 6201 supports state and local agencies by promoting food security for low-income individual giving paid leave to some workers, increasing funding for unemployment insurance, and establishing free testing for COVID-19.

  • Gives the USDA authority to issue nationwide waivers to ensure access to meals in COVID19
  • School employees would be entitled to an initial 10 days of unpaid sick leave if they are impacted by the coronavirus. This would be followed by paid leave equal to at least two thirds of their normal pay. There are caps on the paid leave of $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

HR 6074 provides $8.3 billion in emergency aid to fund the following activities:

  • Developing, manufacturing, and procuring vaccines and other medical supplies
  • Grants for state, local, and tribal public health agencies and organizations
  • Loans for affected small businesses

A Potential Fourth Bill

Congress is in recess until April 30. NREAC and other education advocate organizations are looking at a fourth COVID relief bill.

While $365 million for Minnesota and $30.75 billion nationally from the CARES Act sounds like a lot, it is less than a third of the relief for education in the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

Given COVID-19’s impact on the economy and health system, the thinking is that this is the down payment on what will be required to keep our education systems functioning for children and families over the next several years. MREA will be working with NREAC and others in this effort.

Read about the impact of the CARES Act on K-12 public schools.


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