Enlarge /. Students wearing face masks and face masks are attending a class in their classroom at Claude Debussy College in Angers, western France, on May 18, 2020, after France eased the novel's lockdown measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic Corona virus.
View more stories
According to President Trump's criticism, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are planning to publish updated guides outlining how schools can be safely reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice President Mike Pence announced the upcoming documents on Wednesday just a few hours after Trump went to Twitter to break the agency's current guidelines.
"Well, the President said today, we just don't want the guidelines to be too strict," said Pence at a press conference for the White House Coronavirus Task Force. "For this reason, the CDC will release a number of new tools next week, five different documents that will give even more clarity about the future guidelines."
In tweets, Trump said he disagreed with the CDC's guidelines and called them "very hard and expensive". He also threatened to cut funding for schools that refused to open before the November election.
As the NPR notes, schools receive an average of 10 percent or less of their funds from the federal government, and these funds typically serve to support children with disabilities and children from low-income households. Pence also made it clear during the press conference that if "certain restrictions" prevented the reopening of some school districts, the White House would be "very respectful".
It is unclear which CDC guidelines or recommendations the president has criticized. Existing documents, however, recommend that administrators consider long-term school closures when COVID-19 shows “significant community transmission,” as is currently the case in many parts of the country.
In today's press conference, Pence emphasized that the agency's guidelines should be tailored to each area and should not replace local or state rules or guidelines. CDC director Robert Redfield appeared next to Pence and noted that the CDC's recommendations should not serve as a "justification for school closure".
The Trump administration is not the only one pushing schools to reopen. On June 26, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its preliminary guidelines, saying it "strongly supports that all policy considerations for the upcoming school year should begin with the students physically present in the school." The organization found that schools play fundamental roles in “academic teaching, social and emotional skills, security, nutrition, physical activity, and mental health therapy”. In this respect, it has been argued that the benefits for children when schools are open to personal learning may outweigh the risks.
But many teachers and parents are still careful about personal learning. In many school buildings and classrooms, social distancing measures are difficult, if not impossible, to follow. And chronic underfunding has left buildings with poor ventilation.
Parents and teachers
On Tuesday, six groups representing teachers and parents published a statement: “Without a comprehensive plan that includes federal funding to ensure the safety of our students and educators through personal protective equipment, socially distant education, and combating racial inequality, we could be students to put their families and educators at risk. "
The statement further noted that the administration has not taken a leadership role in preparing schools and has provided conflicting and confusing guidelines.
The publication of a new set of guidelines may not be clear. Despite the lack of a clear plan as the disease increases in many areas, President Trump has stepped up his calls for school reopening. On Tuesday, he vowed to put pressure on states to reopen schools in the fall, which could have a significant impact on the economy and elections.