Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos refused to answer a simple yes or no question and assure parents, teachers, and students that it is safe to go back to school.
CNN’s Dana Bash asked on State Of The Union, “The number of new cases per day is higher now in 45 of the 50 states than when schools shut down in March. Hospitalizations are climbing in several states. Some ICUs are at or near capacity. So, yes or no? Can you assure students, teachers, parents, that they will not get coronavirus because they’re going back to school?”
DeVos answered, “Well, the key is that kids have to get back to school. We know there are going to be hot spots, and those need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. But the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall. They’ve been missing months of learning. Many of them are going to be so far behind, it’s going to be difficult to catch up. And we know this is a matter of their health in a multitude of factors or multitude of dimensions. We know that their emotional well-being, their mental well-being. Particularly kids from low-income and vulnerable populations, this is devastating to be out of school and not learning for months on end.”
Bash asked again, “Madam Secretary, I don’t think anybody disagrees with that. I’m a parent. I want my school-aged child to go back to school as much as you are saying you want for everybody. But the question is can it happen safely? So, by saying what you just said also assure parents, students, children, everybody who’s there that they’re going to be able to do so safely?”
Betsy DeVos won't answer the question when she was asked to assure parents, students, and teachers that it's safe to return to school, which means that the Trump administration knows it's not safe, but they're pressuring to resume school anyway. pic.twitter.com/6LOFPGyNgw
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) July 12, 2020
DeVos still wouldn’t assure people that it is safe, “Well, we know that children get the virus at a far lower rate than any other part of the and, again, there is nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them. And, in fact, it’s more a matter of their health and well-being that they be back in school. We’ve seen this in other countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world where students have gone back to school and have done so very that should be the goal.”
Bash hit DeVos with reality, “We do know that children can spread the virus. For example, there was a summer camp in Missouri, which closed after 82 campers and staff tested positive. Texas says more than 1,300 children and employees in a childcare facility tested positive. And here’s what the CDC guidelines say. If children meet in groups, it can put everyone at risk. Children can pass this virus onto others who have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. That’s your own federal government’s guidelines.”
The Trump administration knows that it is not safe for kids to go back to school. They don’t care that it is not safe, because they are trying to pretend like the pandemic is gone, and life is back to normal ahead of the election.
The reality is that where there is any large indoor gathering the virus spreads. Betsy DeVos knows this, so even the Secretary of Education refused to say that it is safe for kids to return to school.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association