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Rep Ruiz highlights how local schools are using American Rescue Plan funds

Millions of dollars in pandemic relief funds are on full display at schools across the valley. One of the lawmakers behind the help, Congressman Raul Ruiz, visited Andrew Jackson Elementary in Indio on Wednesday to see firsthand how students and teachers have been able to safely start the school year.

“It’s good that our children learn public health hygiene, especially washing their hands and how to wash their hands, for how long to wash their hands because that’s really going to help cut down a lot of transmissible illnesses,” Ruiz said.

Throughout campus and in classrooms are common sites like air filtration systems and hand washing stations. there’s also a screening site, where potential symptoms for covid are monitored and students who have them are sent home. Money from the "American Rescue Plan" is also supporting learning.

"Teachers are able in case they need to teach from home, are able to do so. students are still able to learn from home with better technology, better internet services, and in addition to that, the American Rescue Plan, these $250 million, are going to provide more personnel, more nurses, and more mental health specialists,” Ruiz said.

The Desert Sands Unified School District received more than $41 million in federal funding to implement the new safeguards.

The money isn’t just about keeping students and school staff healthy… but ensuring schools stay open amid the pandemic.

"I know there’s a lot of mothers out there who are really happy and dependent on having their children go back to school so they can go back to work and their families could pay the bills,” Ruiz said.

And behind every successful student… is a dedicated teacher.

"We should applaud them, we should support them, I certainly do,” Ruiz said.

But Ruiz is reminding members of the Coachella Valley.

"If every household, the adults and those that are eligible get vaccinated, then we decrease the risk that a child could be infected and bring the virus into the schools -- the same with our teachers, the same with the administration," Ruiz said.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3

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