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Kendra Horn introduces COVID-19 hazard pay bill for in-person teachers and school staff

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U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma's fifth district delivers a speech after swearing her oath of service Jan. 12, 2019. 

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-5) introduced a bill Sept. 22 to financially benefit teachers exposed to COVID-19.

According to a press release from her office, Horn introduced a bill that, if passed, would increase the pay of Oklahoma public school teachers who work in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic. Horn is a native-born Oklahoma Democrat and represents District 5, which includes Norman.

The proposed bill, cited as the “Educators Are Heroes Act,” would increase the pay of teachers and staff by 25 percent for every hour they work in person at public and secondary schools. According to the release, the bill would include all employees, such as guidance counselors and janitorial staff.

In a statement on the bill, Horn declared she would fight for educators. 

“Our educators are on the front lines of this pandemic,” Horn said in the release. “We know that educators providing in-person instruction are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. We need to provide our teachers and staff with the resources they need to make it through this crisis, and I’m proud to fight for them.”

The fact sheet on the Educators Are Heroes Act said teachers in six states, including Oklahoma, have died from COVID-19 already this semester. It also said 90 percent of children are asymptomatic to the virus, which makes it harder to determine and regulate positive cases in schools.

Funding for hazard pay would be provided after schools apply for the grant through the Secretary of Treasury. The money will come from a pre-existing fund, known as the “Educator Fund,” which exists in the Treasury of the United States. Contributors to this bill are Reps. André Carson (IN-7), Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Bennie Thompson (MS-2) and Michael San Nicolas (GU).

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