President Trump Strongly Urges Schools To Reopen In The Fall
President Donald Trump is strongly urging state and local officials to reopen schools in the fall, saying that he would be putting pressure on governors and others to do so, according to a report by Time.
“They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” Trump said, referring to those that don’t want a return to school in the fall. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”
President Trump applauded Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his plan to reopen public schools in his state this coming fall.
Trump criticized Harvard University’s decision to hold classes all online for the semester.
“I think it’s ridiculous, I think it’s an easy way out and I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said.
Recently, a White House roundtable that included health and education leaders from all over the country stated that schools and colleges are ready to open in the fall and can do so safely.
According to them, the risk of coronavirus was outweighed by the risk of keeping children at home. They said that it is necessary that children receive access to meal programs and mental and behavioral health services.
“Children’s mental health and social development must be as much of a priority as physical health,” first lady Melania Trump said. “The same is true for parents. Many will be forced to make stressful choices between caring for their children and going back to work.”
However, some disagree. The president of the U.S.’s largest education union, the National Education Association, contends that Trump’s interests in the matter lie in the November election rather than in the interest of student health and safety.
“Trump has proven to be incapable of grasping that people are dying — that more than 130,000 Americans have already died,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the NEA. “Educators want nothing more than to be back in classrooms and on college campuses with our students, but we must do it in a way that keeps students, educators and communities safe.”
President Trump accused his political counterparts of the same thing, saying that Democrats wanted to keep schools closed for political reasons rather than health reasons.
He tweeted, “They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!”
“When you make it about politics and just people trying to score points and get elected, I mean, I really think it’s a disservice to how incredibly important this issue is,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, who is a part of Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 Testing Insights Initiative. “And it really distracts from what I think we need, which is real solutions and a plan in order to make this happen.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been pretty back and forth on the issue, saying that students should return to the classroom while also maintaining that online classes would help stop the spread of coronavirus.
At President Trump’s event earlier this week, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield stated that it would be better for students to be in school rather than at home.
“It’s clear that the greater risk to our society is to have these schools close,” Redfield said. “Nothing would cause me greater sadness than to see any school district or school use our guidance as a reason not to reopen.”
Some recommendations that the CDC has provided for schools are to have teachers and student wear masks “as feasible”, spread out desks and chairs, stagger schedules, eat meals in classrooms rather than the cafeteria, and add physical barriers between the sinks in the bathroom.
Some schools have decided to only bring in students for physical classes a few days a week, a move that was criticized by Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education.
“It’s clear that our nation’s schools must fully reopen and fully operate this school year. Anything short of that robs students, not to mention taxpayers, of their future,” DeVos said.
Some are still hesitant to allow children back to school, though.
“We all want children to go back to school,” said Arne Duncan, a former education secretary for the Obama administration. “The question is whether we care enough about our children to ALLOW them to go to school safely. Our behavior, our commitment to shared sacrifice — or our selfishness — will determine what happens this fall for kids.”
Read the full report here.