The President has insisted that schools reopen despite record COVID-19 cases.
US President Donald Trump has spent the last few days escalating his rhetoric against public schools, demanding that they reopen their facilities in full for the fall 2020 semester. The President has repeatedly stressed his belief that the downsides of remote learning outweigh the risks posed by reopening while the pandemic is still surging, and in spite of rising COVID-19 cases throughout the country. This morning, the President tweeted more of this pressure, accompanied with a threat.
In a follow-up tweet, the President also slammed his administration’s own Center for Disease Control for imposing reopening guidelines that are, in his opinion, too strict.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos shares the President’s enthusiasm for reopening schools, appearing in conference calls with various governors on Tuesday to state her case. “Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how,” DeVos said. “School[s] must reopen, they must be fully operational.” She went on to add that a hybrid approach with partial reopenings accompanied by remote learning would be insufficient.
At a press event at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump made his intentions to pressure public schools known. “We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open. It’s very important. It’s very important for our country,” he said. “It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.”
The President has repeatedly been at odds with governors, public institutions, and members of his administration in his push to reopen the country. At a live event, CDC head Dr. Anthony Fauci said that “The current state [of the virus spread] is really not good,” and that “We are still knee deep in the first wave.”
In response to Fauci’s diagnostic, the President said “We’ve done a good job. I think we are going to be in two, three, four weeks…I think we are going to be in very good shape.”