New US CDC School Reopening Guidelines Promised After Trump Complains


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plan to issue new guidelines to reopen schools, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday after President Donald Trump criticized the agency’s recommendations. for being too expensive and impractical.

Trump, a Republican seeking re-election in November, accused Democrats of wanting to keep schools closed for political reasons and threatened to cut federal funds to schools that are not reopened, despite an increase in cases of coronavirus.

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very difficult and expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them to open, they ask schools to do very impractical things. I will meet them! Trump said on Twitter.

Flanked by senior administration and health officials from the administration, Pence said that the CDC next week will issue a “new set of tools … to clarify future guidance.

“The president said today that we just don’t want the orientation to be too harsh,” Pence said at a briefing by the White House coronavirus task force at the Department of Education.

CDC Director Robert Redfield emphasized that the agency’s guidelines were not required.

“It would be personally very disappointing to me, and I know my agency, if we saw that people were using these guidelines as a reason not to reopen our schools,” Redfield said.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the White House did not pressure CDC to review its recommendations.

The CDC has made a number of recommendations for schools, including testing for COVID-19, dividing students into small groups, serving packed lunches in classrooms rather than cafeterias, and minimizing the exchange of school supplies.

It has been advised that seats be spaced at least six feet apart and that sneeze guards and partitions be placed when social distancing is not possible.

Administration officials said local leaders would adapt their decisions on how schools would reopen.

FILE PHOTO: United States President Donald Trump speaks during an event about the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) in the East Room of the White House in Washington, USA. USA, July 7, 2020. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

“Ultimately, it’s not about whether schools should reopen, it’s just how. They must be fully opened, “said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

States are responsible for primary and secondary education under the U.S. Constitution, but some have been slow to decide when and how to open schools, concerned about the resurgence of the coronavirus across the country.

The U.S. outbreak has crossed the 3 million mark in confirmed cases, with a death toll of 131,336, according to a Reuters count.

Democrats think it would be politically bad for them to open schools before the November election, but it is important for children and families. You can cut funding if it’s not open! Trump said on Twitter.

Recognizing that most of the school funding comes from the states, Pence said the administration will work with Congress to find ways to “give states a strong incentive and encouragement for children to return to school.”

“It is time for us to return our children to school,” he said.

The federal government provides some supplemental funds for schools, including through congressional appropriations. With Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, any effort to cut funds will surely face obstacles.

McEnany said Trump is “looking into the possible (funding) redirect to make sure it’s going to the student and is probably tied to the student and not to a district where schools are closed.”

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said the reopening of schools was necessary for America’s economic recovery. Business and conservative groups have said parents should return to work.

On Tuesday, Trump said he would pressure state governors to open schools in the fall.

However, the increase in cases in the US has raised concerns about the increased risk of children transmitting the virus to vulnerable adults in the home, as well as to older teachers and school staff.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the federal government has no authority over the schools and his state will announce its reopening plans in the first week of August.

In neighboring New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said he planned to reopen state schools in the fall, but reserved the right to “change that if it means saving lives.”

Doina Chiacu’s report; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Bernadette Baum, Jonathan Oatis and Sonya Hepinstall edition

Our Standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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