CDC Refuses to Change School Reopening Policy Despite Pressure from Trump

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will not bow to pressure from President Donald Trump, who has pushed for schools to reopen despite concerns that doing so could intensify the coronavirus pandemic. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said additional reference documents will be provided instead.

“Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities in trying to open K-through-12s,” Redfield said. “It’s not a revision of the guidelines; it’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward.”

Redfield added: “Right now, we’re continuing to work with the local jurisdictions to how they want to take the portfolio of guidance that we’ve given to make them practical for their schools to reopen.”

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Redfield’s comments come after the president said he disagrees with CDC guidelines on reopening schools, calling them “tough and expensive.”

I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” he wrote in a tweet yesterday morning, adding: “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

Shortly before this, the president accused Democrats of orchestrating a political ploy in advocating for schools to remain shuttered. He threatened to withhold funding from schools that don’t reopen, a proposal echoed by Education Secretary Betsy Devos.

“Well, that’s definitely something to be looked at. The reality is most of the education funding comes from the state and local level, so in excess of 90 percent of it does,” Devos said Tuesday night. “But what the president and all those at a roundtable today made very clear is the expectation that kids have got to continue their learning. There is no reason to withhold full-time education.”

She added: “We are looking at this very seriously. This is a very serious issue across the country. Kids have got to continue learning, schools have got to open up. There has got to concerted effort to address the needs of all kids, and adults who are fearmongering and making excuses have simply got to stop doing it, and turn their attention on what is right for students and for their families.”