The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopted stricter mask guidelines for public schools after a major teachers union pressured the agency to do so, according to newly revealed emails.
Email correspondence obtained by Fox News — courtesy of the watchdog group Americans for Public Trust — between officials from the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, and the White House indicate the Biden administration gave in to the NEA’s push to have the CDC publicly release more rigorous mask recommendations.
The CDC announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated people did not have to wear masks.
A day later, on May 14, the NEA sent a letter to the White House regarding confusion about how the new policy would apply to schools and demanding an explanation.
A first draft of the letter complained about the CDC “releasing the guidance without accompanying school-related updates creates confusion and fuels the internal politicization of this basic health and safety issue.”
“CDC has consistently said, and studies support, that mitigation measures, including to protect the most vulnerable, remain necessary in schools and institutions of higher education — particularly because no elementary or middle school students, and few high school students, have been vaccinated,” the draft statement said.
“This will also make it hard for school boards and leaders of institutions of higher education to do the right thing by maintaining mitigation measures,” the draft continued. “We need CDC clarification right away.”
Emails between government officials and representatives from the NEA dated May 14 revealed Sherri Berger, the CDC chief of staff, had spoken with NEA President Becky Pringle.
The statement released by the NEA the next day struck a different tone.
“CDC’s current recommendation that schools continue to implement existing school-related guidance, including the mandatory and correct use of wearing masks and continuing of social distancing, is an important and welcome clarification about the protections that need to be in place in our schools,” Pringle said in the May 14 statement.
“All schools teaching students from kindergarten through grade 12 should continue to implement proper mask-wearing and distancing at least through the end of the 2020-21 school year,” she said.
“These key mitigation measures for safe in-person instruction should remain in place in schools and institutions of higher education to protect all students and others who are not vaccinated.”
A day later, on May 15, the CDC changed its guidance, recommending universal mask wearing in schools regardless of vaccination status.
“Universal and correct use of masks should be required. Physical distancing should be maximized to the greatest extent possible,” the CDC said in a statement that same day.
It certainly seems as if the CDC is doing the bidding of the teachers union.
And not for the first time.
“This batch of emails came just weeks after we already exposed the teachers unions influenced the CDC on school openings. Lo and behold, less than two weeks later, they’re at it again, but this time in relation to mask guidance,” Americans for Public Trust Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox.
Sutherland was referring to another powerful teachers union — the American Federation of Teachers — exerting influence on the CDC earlier this year regarding school reopenings, according to the New York Post.
“In at least two instances, language ‘suggestions’ offered by the union were adopted nearly verbatim into the final text of the CDC document,” the Post reported.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.