On Thursday, July 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Robert Redfield, said that keeping schools closed during the pandemic poses a greater than if they were to be reopened. His statement comes after President Trump pushed students to be in classrooms by the fall.
On Wednesday, the president expressed his disapproval with the CDC in a tweet for their "tough and expensive" guidelines for opening schools. The post raised fears about the politicization of the country's leading public health agency.
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!!! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2020
In an interview on Thursday, Redfield said that the CDC is not considering changing its existing guidelines for schools. However, it will be releasing additional guidelines to provide more clarity. Furthermore, he said that the directions would address parents' roles and the importance of putting on facial coverings in schools.
In an event hosted by The Hill and sponsored by the Biosimilars Forum, he mentioned that he is confident that schools can open safely in partnership with the local jurisdictions.
In line with CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics also called for students to return to classrooms for their learning. They say that the educational and social losses of being away from school for a long time could affect their overall health and well being.
Funds Needed to Reopen Schools Safely
On the other hand, education groups such as the American Association of School Administrators and the American Federation of Teachers claim that more funding is necessary to reopen schools safely.
Administrators claim that some districts are already faced with severe budget shortages due to the economic deterioration caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked about additional funding on Thursday, Redfield declined to comment on the matter. Instead, he said that plans from different schools and jurisdictions first need to be reviewed.
The Trump administration has not yet released specific plans for aiding school districts in their reopening. According to Vice President Pence, they plan to continue doing what they have been doing since day one, which is providing extensive testing efforts.
However, on Thursday, Reuters reported that the federal government could enable families to use education funding elsewhere if local public schools remained closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Protecting the Vulnerable During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The World Health Organization recognizes that the coronavirus can infect people of all ages. However, they claim that there are people who are more vulnerable to catching the virus.
This group of people includes older people, particularly senior citizens and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, respiratory conditions, and heart disease.
According to Redfield, it is important to recognize that the virus isn't benign to individuals who are under the age of 20. He added that there is a deep need to "protect the vulnerable," pertaining to children with underlying conditions, as well as educators with similar circumstances.
He adds that they are prepared to collaborate with each school or school district for the safety of its staff and students.