Lawmakers, experts answer Coloradans’ questions on COVID-19 recovery

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DENVER (KDVR) — FOX31 and Channel 2 hosted a virtual town hall Thursday which also aired on partner news stations in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction. Top Colorado lawmakers and experts answered viewers’ questions about moving forward amid the recovery from COVID-19.

Several topics were raised, including a new challenge: the killing of George Floyd and the protests it sparked across the country. The gatherings have raised concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

Colorado lawmakers expressed their outrage over the killing of Floyd and support for the protests. Sen. Michael Bennet said he had been out at one of the protests with his family over the weekend but said he used caution. He also urged the use of masks and practicing social distancing when possible. 

On schools, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said this fall, most of them will open on time and largely, students will be in the classrooms. He cautioned, however, that districts will need contingency plans to deal with local outbreaks. Some of those plans might include moving to remote learning for one or two weeks as well as smaller class sizes.

On the economy, Bennet and Sen. Cory Gardner pointed to the expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program. Each senator is also separately working on programs to help small businesses in the months ahead. 

There was a large emphasis on the need for widespread testing and contact tracing. Both are seen as crucial to prevent Colorado from reaching a point where the state would have to essentially shut down again.

Rep. Jason Crow specifically talked about the need for a large health care workforce to combat the virus in the long-run. He supports a plan for a public loan forgiveness for the individuals who pursue studies in the health care field. 

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