Trump Administration Pushes For School Reopening Without Specific Plan In Place Yet

Ava DeSantis writes on Trump’s plan for reopening of the American schools despite the CDC guidelines. 

 Photo by Andrea Hanks

The President’s plan will continue to develop as Trump, First Lady Melania, and Vice President Mike Pence meet with teachers, administrators, state governors, and students, in the near future, the White House official said today. The President and the First Lady will meet with school officials and students today at 3pm for a “National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools” , leaving Pence to meet with the nation’s governors. 

The Administration enters these meetings with the belief that schools are “high-priority settings within the community, given the unique and critical role they play in our society.” The plan for school reopenings, continued the White House official, “should be tailored in a way that minimizes the risk of COVID-19 spread while providing students with the critical services, academic resources, and social and emotional support they need.” 

The CDC, recounted the official, “never recommended” that “schools close”, local and state governments made those decisions. The administration emphasized that local jurisdictions would make these choices again in the fall, and made no commitment to pressure schools to reopen.

The President himself, took a stronger stance, tweeting yesterday “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” The President, however, does not have a specific plan for how schools should reopen safely. At 3pm today, he will participate in a National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools.

He accused opponents of reopening of having political concerns separate from the national worry over public health. Trump tweeted, “corrupt Joe Biden and the Democrats don’t want to open schools in the Fall for political reasons, not for health reasons! They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!”

The  Trump administration did begin to make the case for reopening. The White House Official noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) argued for school reopening in a statement on June 25th. The statement reads, in bolded font, “the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present in school.”

The CDC predicted three possible levels of risk, based on how and if schools reopen. The lowest level of risk is if schools remain entirely online. At a higher risk level, would be schools who hold “small, in-person classes, activities and events” while remaining “6 feet apart” at all times. The highest level of risk would be if “full-sized” in-person classes happen, and students are not appropriately spaced apart.

The Biden campaign released its plan for school reopening. According to the democratic nominee’s campaign website, Biden would scale-up research on how COVID-19 affects children, help schools share information on best practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19, provide federal funding for schools and childcare providers to purchase personal protective equipment, enhanced sanitation efforts, alterations to classrooms, and schedules. The Biden plan seemingly aligns with the CDC’s mid-risk model. What Trump's plan in terms of risk prevalent to the CDC risk model is unknown at this moment. 

 

 


 

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