President Joe Biden attempted to clarify his administration’s stance on reopening schools following comments made by White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“No, that’s not true. That’s what was reported; that’s not true. There was a mistake in the communication,” Biden said during a CNN town hall on Tuesday night, according to Fox News.
“But what I — what I’m talking about is I said opening the majority of schools in K-through-eighth grade because they’re the easiest to open, the most needed to be opened, in terms of the impact on children and families having to stay home,” he continued.
Psaki said during a Feb. 9 press briefing that the goal was to get K-8 schools open at least one day a week by the end of the president’s first one hundred days.
White House: Our goal is to have 50 percent of schools open by April 30, 2021 — “at least one day per week” pic.twitter.com/7VNpG9i0Sx
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 9, 2021
While many teachers unions have pushed for a continuation of fully virtual instruction, especially in major cities like Chicago, there is little evidence to corroborate that reopening with safety protocols is particularly dangerous.
In @nytimes interview Mayor Lori Lightfoot uncorks more explicitly her thoughts on @CTULocal1: “I think, ultimately, they’d like to take over not only Chicago Public Schools, but take over running the city government.” https://t.co/XdxKQ0Qxv0
— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) February 15, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for schools last week, suggesting that in-person instruction could be done with proper considerations.
A new @CDCMMWR finds that K-12 schools can limit the spread of #COVID19 through masks & other preventive measures, even with high rates of COVID-19 in the community. More: https://t.co/IHzsYH8Wms. pic.twitter.com/JcQIqxm5pB
— CDC (@CDCgov) January 26, 2021
“Based on the data available, in-person learning in schools has not been associated with substantial community transmission. Although national COVID-19 case incidence rates among children and adolescents have risen over time, this trend parallels trends observed among adults,” according to the CDC website.
“Increases in case incidence among school-aged children and school reopenings do not appear to pre-date increases in community transmission.”
It is important to understand that local governments hold significantly more power in schools reopening, but the Biden administration needs to collaborate with teachers unions in order to get teachers back in the classroom in major cities.
New poll results: 79% of our members agree that remote learning isn’t as effective as in-person learning. It’s why we’re working so hard to get the #AmericanRescuePlan passed, to get resources into the classroom.
— AFT (@AFTunion) February 17, 2021
On that note, it is clear that Biden and Psaki need to do a better job at clearly communicating with the media and the American people.
In case helpful. Last week I said @POTUS goal was to open schools five days a week as quickly as possible. And that we are going to rely on science. Which is exactly what we are doing.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 17, 2021
As press secretary, Psaki should be aware of the official position the president and the administration hold — and even suggesting different information could be responsible for major changes.
The United States is seemingly nearing the final days of the coronavirus pandemic, and the administration needs to make sure students get back in classrooms soon.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.