Latest Updates about Coronavirus
As the coronavirus outbreak continues, I write to share some resources that may be helpful to you and your family regarding –
- Travel Alerts
- School Meals in Metro Atlanta
- Distance Learning Resources
- Managing Student Debt; and
- Staying Calm and Centered
Yesterday, the State of Georgia cancelled K-12 classes through the rest of the year. Local districts are continuing instruction, so please remain in touch with your child’s school district for updated information. In addition, college students should work with their institutions to make sure they are able to complete necessary requirements and finish the term. Please be sure to contact your child’s school, your institution, or the relevant federal agencies for more information about specific tools available to you.
Please know that my office is readily available to assist Georgia Fifth Congressional District residents with any federal issues or concerns. In addition to these newsletters, you may follow updates on my website at https://johnlewis.house.gov/coronavirus.
We are all in this together, and as neighbors, friends, and family, we must look out for one other. Together, we will prevail.
Local school systems are continuing to offer meals to students. This information may change, especially with the scheduled spring breaks occur. Please maintain social distancing when picking up food and be sure to stay in touch with your child’s school system for updated information about meal programs
- Atlanta Public Schools: Meals are available to children 18-years old or younger, or those with special needs, who are 22-years old or younger. Children must be present to receive the meal and be counted as required by state and federal recordkeeping. Families are encouraged to pull up with their children in a drive-thru style for service and should remain in their vehicle while receiving their food. Walk-ups, while practicing social distancing, are also welcome. Please click here for more information, including locations.
- City Schools of Decatur: City Schools of Decatur students can pick up two meals each day from Decatur High School between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Students may only pick up two meals (one breakfast and one lunch) per day. Meal prices remain the same as a typical school day, and all approved free and reduced lunch applications will be honored. There will be no meals during spring break. More information is here.
- Clayton County Public Schools: Clayton County has 23 sites providing breakfast and lunch meals to children during the school closure. In addition, Clayton County Public Schools will continue to provide these services during the upcoming Spring Break closure. More information, including locations, are here.
- DeKalb County Schools: DeKalb County will distribute two-day meal packages on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The 21 meal distribution sites will remain operational, and the bus meal delivery will continue following the amended plan of meal service on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Meal sites are here.
- Fulton County Schools: Families can pick up meals for all children under the age of 18, or under the age of 21 for youth with special needs from one of 21 food distribution sites listed below. Children must be present in order for meals to be provided. More information, including locations, are here (información en español).
Parents are maintaining regular contact with their child’s school regarding any specific distance learning resources or requirements. While library branches are closed, you might wish to use digital tools offered by the Fulton County Library System, DeKalb County Public Library, and Clayton County Library System.
Additional federal, state, and local resources are available to help your children learn while coronavirus keeps them from the classroom:
- Library of Congress: Smart Fun for Kids
- Smithsonian Institution: Distance Learning
- Georgia Department of Education: Coronavirus Information
- Georgia Department of Education: Digital Learning
- Georgia Department of Education: Georgia Virtual School
- Georgia Public Broadcasting: Education
- Georgia Public Broadcasting: elearning Daily Newsletter
- Georgia Public Broadcasting: Emergency Closings Collection
- Georgia Public Library Service
- Georgia's Virtual Library: GALILEO
The CARES Act, which passed Congress and became law last week, requires the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments, principal, and interest for six months, through September 30, 2020, without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned student loans. This provides relief for over 95 percent of student loan borrowers.
The CARES Act also helps students, who drop out of school because of coronavirus, and it exempts employer-provided payments of student loans. More information is available through the Department of Education. Please contact your student loan servicer for additional information about your loan. If you’re still in school, you should also contact your institution’s financial aid office.
There is more work ahead. I am proud to support House Democrats’ proposal, H.R. 6379, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, which would immediately relieve up to $10,000 of all student loans. This legislation also proposes much-needed additional funds and flexibility to schools and universities. In these challenging economic times, American families need all the help they can get to recover from COVID-19.
During this unprecedented crisis, we must remember to take care of our mental health. We are all under heavy stress, and this includes our teachers, parents, students, and education professionals. It is more important than ever to eat well, get some sleep, exercise (keeping social distance), and meditate.
Coping with stress and anxiety will make you, your loved ones, and our community stronger. The CDC has important resources about how to manage stress and avoid burnout during this crisis.
If you need assistance, you may talk to your doctor or mental health provider (including a student health center). You may also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
On March 31, 2020, the State Department has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel. In addition, the State Department encourages Americans who seek to return to the United States from abroad should do so now. As commercial flights become more limited, it is likely that returning to the U.S. from overseas will become increasingly difficult.
All Americans who are abroad should register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates from U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world. As always, my staff is readily available to assist Georgia Fifth Congressional District residents, who are experiencing difficulty returning to the U.S. You may also find additional travel information from the Centers for Disease Control here.