CDC to release guidance on reopening schools as President Biden’s plan faces scrutiny

Biden Senior Advisor says" There's no debate here about whether to go back to shcool, there's a debate no how'
Kids In School

Image: Ted S. Warren/AP

(ABC News) –Public health guidance for reopening schools will be released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a top adviser in the Biden administration said Thursday.

Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser for the COVID-19 response, said on MSNBC Thursday that the CDC will “roll out their operating plan to give school districts, local communities the guidance they need to begin to do that and do that aggressively.”

“There’s no debate over whether to open schools here, there’s a debate on how,” he said.

In question is how far the Biden administration will go. Almost a year into the pandemic, there still has not been a clear federal standard on when it is safe to open a school. There has only been guidance for operating schools during COVID-19, including considerations for mitigation strategies like hand hygiene and wearing masks.

The upcoming recommendations from the CDC come as the Biden administration’s plan to reopen schools is under some scrutiny.

It initially appeared to be a bold plan: a goal to reopen the majority of schools in 100 days. But the novelty was swiftly called into question this week when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki clarified what the administration meant by “open.”

Psaki said that goal meant ensuring over 50% of K-8 schools offered in-person learning at least one day a week.

“Absolutely pathetic!tweeted Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., in response.

“Students deserve more than this meager approach to returning safely to their classrooms,” she added.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., tweeted: “Having only 51% of our schools reopen for as little as one day a week is not a ‘success.’ We should be working to safely get all of our children back to full-time, in-person learning.”

The Trump administration had demanded that schools reopen but without clear guidance to schools and teachers on when it would be safe to do so. The Trump administration’s Education Department also never collected data from schools on closures or best practices — information that could have been useful in informing local officials struggling to make decisions on when to open or close classrooms.

 

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