WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With school districts deciding how to start the academic year, some lawmakers say educators and students need help.

“The reality is that many school districts cannot afford to take safety measures recommended by public health officials,” Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott.

Scott says the next coronavirus relief package needs to guarantee health and safety for students and teachers returning to school.

“School districts will not be able to purchase personal protective equipment, soap and hand sanitizer, disinfectant and cleaning services and many other critical safety measures included in the CDC’s reopening guidelines,” Scott said.

Scott also wants masks for educators and students and a transportation alternative to buses. But some Republicans say that’s not a federal concern.

“I think the communities have everything that they already need to safely reopen schools and that the decision level needs to be at the local county and city level,” Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall said.

Marshall says the benefits of reopening, outweigh the risks.

“A quality education is very important, but the social skills, the mental health, the good nutrition that they get. Unfortunately, child abuse has jumped up a little bit over the past three or four months,” Marshall said.

Marshall says since children are rarely impacted by the virus, there is little risk. But Scott says the disease could spread from the schools to the larger communities, making the pandemic worse.