Trump says schools must reopen in fall despite increasing number of cases


President Donald Trump on Tuesday launched an all-out effort pressing state and local officials to reopen schools this fall, arguing that some are keeping schools closed not because of the risks from the coronavirus pandemic but for political reasons.

The same thing can't happen again this fall, she said, urging governors to play a role in getting schools to reopen.

"We're going to be putting a lot of pressure to open the schools in the fall", Trump said during a round-table discussion at the White House.

"We're very much going to put pressure on the governors and the schools to reopen", Trump said at a White House event Tuesday on school reopenings. Trump applauded Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his state's recent order to open public schools this fall.

"We all want children to go back to school", Duncan said on Twitter. "No way", he continued. It's very important for our country. "We need to commit to it and we need just to get it done", Redfield said.

In a call Tuesday morning, the White House said school reopening is a local decision, national media reported. And as the rate of coronavirus cases has soared to record levels in the past week, parents and educators have become increasingly anxious about whether there is any way to make in-person school safe for both students and teachers. "We want your schools open", Trump said.

"Ultimately, it's not a matter of if schools need to open, it's a matter of how".

Meanwhile, school systems have been looking at ways to creatively reopen, such as offering hybrid schedules and monitoring students' health.

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Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued several guidelines for schools that planned to reopen amid the pandemic.

When questioned about concerns that reopening puts vulnerable populations at risk, a senior official maintained that it is not an either-or situation.

"Our word to the parents that are looking on to teachers that are looking on, administrators, leaders in your community, is that we are ready to work with the leaders in your school system and in your state to find a safe and responsible way to reopen your schools. And I think that's really the intent here", a senior official said.

"Nobody should hide behind the CDC's guidance as a way to not reopen schools", he said.

"Without federal assistance, we will see educator layoffs that will be particularly harsh for those who struggle most to make ends meet even during normal times, such as our wonderful, amazingly devoted education support professionals", National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García said in a prepared statement to Congress on Tuesday. "Anything short of that robs students, not to mention taxpayers, of their future", DeVos said.

But some are calling for greater caution as schools plan for the fall. McConnell has specifically stressed the importance of securing liability protections for schools.

In that interview with CNN, Fauci noted that most children tend to experience mild or no symptoms when contracting COVID-19.

The Republican-controlled Senate has not taken up a bill passed by House Democrats that would allocate hundreds of billions more. It is not clear what schools Trump was referring to - elementary and high schools or colleges and universities - or what actions Trump was considering.