July 16, 2020 In the News

Shaheen briefed on reopening challenges N.H. schools face ahead of fall

Nashua Telegraph
July 16, 2020

MANCHESTER – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited the Chamberlain Street School in Rochester to discuss the challenges New Hampshire schools throughout the state face as they prepare to reopen in the fall. The visit came amid the COVID-19 pandemic, whose ongoing financial fallout has resulted in state and local governments grappling with massive revenue shortfalls that jeopardize school budgets, even as districts work to adequately prepare for either in-person classes, remote learning or a combination of the two during the coming academic year. During her visit, Shaheen was joined by local Rochester officials and school employees, including Mayor Caroline McCarley, Superintendent Kyle Repucci and Principal Jen Hersom, and received a briefing on the District’s reopening challenges, participated in a tour of various classrooms that have been modified to meet social distancing guidelines and shared a legislative update from the Senate on her efforts to include additional resources for New Hampshire schools in the next round of COVID-19 response legislation. Last month, Shaheen called for at least $175 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Education Relief Fund in any future COVID-19 relief package.

“Parents want their kids to return to school in the fall, but only if they’re confident that they are going to be safe. As my conversation with Mayor McCarley, Superintendent Repucci and Principal Hersom made clear this morning, Rochester and many school districts throughout New Hampshire are facing enormous challenges as they prepare for the fall.” said Shaheen. “These dedicated professionals and their counterparts across the state are preparing for every possible scenario, but they’ve already been through so much and need help now. Any upcoming COVID-19 relief package must include additional funding for our schools to allow them to address the logistical issues they face and prioritize the health and well-being of teachers and school staff. Most importantly, we need to ensure schools are able to continue providing our children with the best education possible under these difficult circumstances.”

Later at the Pease Tradeport, Shaheen hosted a roundtable discussion with doctors and staff at Martin’s Point Health Care Center, a health clinic that serves New Hampshire veterans, to highlight the importance of telehealth amid COVID-19. Telehealth services have allowed patients to safely and conveniently receive the medical treatment they need during this crisis. During the roundtable, Shaheen heard more on how veteran patients at the clinic and their health care providers have benefited from the expansion of telehealth services and discussed her work in the Senate to strengthen and increase patients’ access to telehealth. Shaheen worked to expand TRICARE’s telehealth services coverage for military families. Thanks to Shaheen’s efforts, TRICARE announced it would expand coverage for telehealth services amid the COVID-19 crisis. In June, Shaheen also called for a permanent expansion of telehealth services that Congress included in bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation and urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement changes that would allow for broader use of telephone-based telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result of Shaheen’s advocacy, CMS made these changes.

“Granite State veterans have benefitted significantly from the expansion of telehealth, which has allowed them to safely and easily receive the health care services they need and deserve from their providers amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Shaheen. “As our discussion today at Martin’s Point highlighted, veterans and patients throughout New Hampshire will continue to require medical attention throughout this crisis, which is why I’ve worked across the aisle to strengthen and expand telehealth coverage for Americans, including Medicare beneficiaries and our men and women in uniform and their families. I’ll keep fighting to increase access to telehealth services as we adapt to and push through this crisis.”