President Trump upped the ante in his push to have schools reopen this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic, threatening to cut off funding for those that don’t.
“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!” Trump said in a Twitter post.
Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Trump said he would pressure governors to reopen public schools.
“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open. It’s very important,” Trump said at a forum attended by health experts and education officials.
The president, moments later Tuesday, wrote in another tweet that he doesn’t agree with guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reopening schools.
“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!,” Trump wrote.
The CDC’s guidelines call for schools to stagger schedules, spread out desks, ensure students stay six-feet apart and that they have meals in classrooms instead of gathering in cafeterias.
The Trump administration has claimed that keeping students at home could hamper their educational development and have long-term effects on their mental health.
“Children’s mental health and social development must be as much of a priority as physical health,” first lady Melania Trump said at the White House Tuesday. “The same is true for parents. Many will be forced to make stressful choices between caring for their children and going back to work.”
Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, said schools must abide by safety precautions to open because young students could transfer the coronavirus to more at-risk populations.
“It’s clear that the greater risk to our society is to have these schools close,” Redfield said at another forum on Tuesday. “The CDC encourages all schools to do what they need to reopen, and to have plans that anticipate that COVID-19 cases will in fact occur.”
Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pointed to Florida’s reopening plan that requires all public schools to reopen in August for at least five days a week, as some school officials from around the country consider reopening for a few days a week.
In a call with governors obtained by the Associated Press, DeVos said reopening a couple days a week “is not a choice at all.”
“Students across the country have already fallen behind. We need to make sure that they catch up,” DeVos said. “It’s expected that it will look different depending on where you are, but what’s clear is that students and their families need more options.”
With Post wires
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