Following President Donald Trump’s tweet, Wednesday disagreeing with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for safely reopening schools the agency said it would issue new recommendations next week. According to the president, the guidelines set by the CDC were tough and expensive.
In response to Trump’s negative remarks, CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield said their recommendations shouldn't be used as an excuse for not returning children to classrooms (!). Surprisingly, he and other members of the White House coronavirus task force pledged to make every effort to bring students back to schools.
Donald Trump has been pushing the issue of reopening schools to allow parents to return to normal work subsequently, an attempt to fuel an economic resurgence. In a press conference on July 8, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would issue new guidance on reopening schools in the coming week.
The Trump administration is determined to reopen schools by the fall although coronavirus cases surge in many areas, reports CNN. The repeated threats by the US president of cutting off funds for schools that will fail to reopen has become another ‘new normal’.
Pence said the White House administration would work with Congress to encourage and incentivize schools to reopen.
The CDC guidelines urge the public to use cloth face coverings and stay home when appropriate. It also suggests staggered scheduling, a back-up staffing plan, modified seating layouts to allow social distancing, physical barriers, and closing of communal spaces.
More than 90 percent of American schools are funded by the individual states and locals, but schools do get some targeted funding from the Department of Education. Any restriction on that ‘federal funding’ may affect most vulnerable students.
US President Trump on Friday condemned “virtual learning,” through the internet and claimed that it has proven to be ‘terrible’ amid his push to reopen schools across the nation this fall. Through his twitter handle, he also reiterated that the federal government may cut funding for schools who fail to reopen, reports Fox News.
Earlier this week Donald Trump threatened to cut federal funding for school districts multiple times should they remain closed during fall semester. He also expressed his determination to pressure governors ensuring that schools reopen amid the COVID-19 crisis.
At an event Tuesday Trump said, “We don't want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons, they think it's gonna be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed, no way...So, we are very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday defended the president’s remarks and said he wants to increase funding in the fourth coronavirus relief package. “But he’s looking at potentially redirecting that to make sure it goes to the student and it is most likely tied to the student and not to a district where schools are closed,” she added.
Although both of the articles focus on different tweets from the US president, they all echo the same. Open schools because the economy is hurting!
Fox News tried to whitewash the president’s stance as much they could but even their careful use of words could not hide president’s intentions of ignoring all kinds of advice. His step to reopening schools and threatening those who fail to comply is being condemned by almost every academician but Fox chose to leave that PoV out of their reportage. AAP and CDC got good coverage though since both are acting as ‘yesmen’ to fulfill the president’s wish.
CNN cannot be hailed as the highest echelon of US journalism but their coverage on the president’s push to reopen schools has been significant. Betsy Klein and Kevin Liptak highlighted the hasty change in CDC guidelines to facilitate the White House’s push to open schools all across the US. Donald Trump is hellbent on resuming schools while the deaths and new infections reach new heights every day. Although Trump has little control in cutting funds for schools, but that much is enough to hurt educational institutes helping the most vulnerable students.