Speaking at a White House event earlier today, President Donald Trump said he will “pressure” governors to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. The president suggested, without evidence, areas that support closures are doing so for “political reasons.”
“They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” he said. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open.”
Republicans in the Senate are dismissing the president’s call to withhold federal funds from schools that don’t reopen.
“I’m not a big fan of doing anything where the federal government impacts local, state governments or schools,” Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, said earlier today. “I want schools to reopen, but I don’t like that. I don’t like the federal government getting involved.”
According to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, most Americans do not support reopening schools, and only about 1 in 10 Americans think daycare centers, preschools or K-12 schools should open this fall without restrictions.
Despite this, the president has continued to push for an outcome that health experts say would endanger more lives.
Yesterday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the transmission rate of the novel coronavirus must be lowered before schools can consider reopening.
“The biggest determinant of whether or not we can go back to school actually has little to do with the actual schools,” Adams told CBS This Morning. “It is your background transmission rate.” Adams acknowledged that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released recommendations for reopening schools safely, but cautioned that “the most important thing is what we do outside of schools before we reopen to lower the transmission rate.”
“We know the risk is low to the actual students,” Adams continued. “But we know they can transmit to others. … We need to take measures to make sure we protect those who are vulnerable either because they are older or they have chronic medical conditions.”