The following letter was sent out by Congresswoman Katherine Clark, whose district includes Watertown.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put a significant strain on families and students. I want to update you on what I’ve done in Congress to support the needs of our families and students, and also connect you to some relevant resources that are currently available for you and your loved ones.
Last month, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act, two emergency funding packages that take important steps to help address the urgent challenges facing our education system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, these new laws provide essential child care services for front line workers that are keeping us safe, as well as paid extended leave for parents and caregivers. For K-12 students, we have enacted increased access to child nutrition programs and far-reaching academic support so that classrooms in cities and in rural America can take advantage of remote learning tools. Finally, for those who enrolled in higher education institutions, these new emergency measures have suspended loan payments and frozen interest on all direct and federally held student loans through September 30, 2020.
As this robust emergency relief is provided to communities in Massachusetts and across the country, there are other forms of help available to you and your loved ones right now:
- If you are in need of food assistance for your children as they remain at home from school, please visit my website and follow me on Twitter for regularly updated information about meal sites currently serving students and families in Massachusetts. You can also click here for an interactive state map provided by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency that lists the locations of several resources available to the public at this time. Be sure to share this information with your neighbors to ensure that everyone has access to the meals they need. You can also click here if you would like to learn more about signing up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and click here for more information about the Women, Infants, & Children Nutrition Program (WIC).
- The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) has launched a new online application portal to assist residents in applying for Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC). Click here to access this application portal.
- Massachusetts is establishing a process to approve child care programs that will serve vulnerable children and the children of families who are essential to the health, safety, and welfare of our communities. Click here for more information and how to apply for assistance.
- Please click here for more information about relief available to college students, recent graduates, and all student loan borrowers.
- The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution have also made a wide range of educational material available on their websites for students of all ages. You can find descriptions and links to Smithsonian Institution resources here, and Library of Congress resources here.
- This Thursday, April 16 at 6:00PM EDT, I will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall with Dr. Claire McCarthy, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital. She will be available to provide best practices as we guide our families through this challenging time and will be taking questions. Here’s the call in number: 1 (844) 734-8764
Please also be sure to regularly check my dedicated COVID-19 webpage on my website for new health and public safety information as well as for additional resources as they arise. I promise to keep you updated as this situation evolves and will continue to do everything I can in Congress to protect American families from this virus.
Member of Congress (MA-05)