CARBONDALE — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet welcomed students, teachers, school leaders, and parents back to school as they face the enormous challenge of safely resuming learning amidst the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
A former Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, Bennet offered words of support and encouragement in a video message to be shared with school districts and their communities. He also spoke about the work he is doing in Washington to secure flexible funding for schools for public health resources, internet access, social and mental health services, and more.
“This year, we’re facing an entirely different start to the school year because of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Bennet. “As you log onto your first Zoom class, or take the first steps into a classroom wearing your mask, I want you to know that we’re supporting you along the way… Even if this isn’t the Back to School experience any of you anticipated, I hope you’ve had an engaging and meaningful start to the year. As students and teachers, and as families and communities, we can still come together to support our schools now more than ever.”
Bennet’s full remarks from the video are below.
Hi everyone! I’m Michael Bennet, a United States Senator representing our great state of Colorado.
Before I was in this job, I was Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools.
So I’ve been in your shoes — ready to start the First Day of School, nervous about everything going smoothly, and excited for the learning that awaits.
This year, we’re facing an entirely different start to the school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
No one could have anticipated the public health and economic challenges that all of you—students, teachers, school leaders, and parents—are facing.
Some of you have already started online learning, others have headed back in-person, and many of you will have a hybrid model to ensure everyone stays healthy and safe.
I have three daughters of my own navigating these circumstances, and my wife is a professor, preparing new lesson plans in this virtual learning environment—so I appreciate the frustration you might be feeling, and also the tremendous care with which you’re conducting your work.
In Washington, I’m working with my colleagues in Congress to secure the funding school districts need to keep you and your families safe; ensure you’ll have access to wifi to complete your lessons; provide social and mental health services; and make sure no student falls behind.
None of this is easy, but I know Coloradans—and if anything, you’ll take on this year with creativity, energy, and grace, just as you did in the spring when the pandemic first arrived.
So as you log onto your first Zoom class, or take the first steps into a classroom wearing your mask, I want you to know that we’re supporting you along the way.
To students: I encourage you to stay motivated and lean on your teachers, friends, and families for support if you’re having a tough time. There’s nothing more important than you continuing to learn and grow. Life is constantly throwing us curveballs, and it’s how we respond that makes us who we are.
To parents: I know you’re doing the best you can in impossible circumstances. Whatever your child’s learning environment is this year, the support you are providing is irreplaceable—and I’ll continue to fight to make sure schools have the resources to keep you and your families safe.
And to teachers and school leaders: I first want to say what you don’t hear often enough—Thank you. You have the hardest, and most rewarding, job in the world. Now more than ever, you’re helping shape the future of our country by creating opportunity for the next generation.
Even if this isn’t the Back to School experience any of you anticipated, I hope you’ve had an engaging and meaningful start to the year. As students and teachers, and as families and communities, we can still come together to support our schools now more than ever.
So wear your mask. Keep your distance. And most important, never stop learning. I hope to see you soon.