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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is asking the Department of Education to hold off on restarting student loan payments on Feb. 1 due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.

“With the continuation of COVID, students should not have this burden placed on their shoulders,” Schumer said Monday. “That’s why we are so, so intent on getting the president to pause student debt, because COVID is still here.”

Student loan payments have been paused since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, and that pause has been extended four times. When the department announced in August that the pause would be extended to the end of January 2022, it said that would be the final continuation.

The department and student loan servicers are well into preparations for repayments to resume, even as borrowers say they aren’t yet ready for their student loan payments to begin again.