President Trump touted his administration’s guidelines for reopening schools Tuesday, saying the Centers for Disease Control could deploy teams to assist schools with safely reopening in the fall.
“Today I am pleased to announce that we will provide up to 125 million reusable masks to various school districts around the country," Trump said during a Wednesday news conference. "My administration also stands ready to deploy CDC teams to support schools that are opening and schools that need help in safety and in order to safely reopen.”
The recommendations call on all students, teachers and staff to self-assess their health each morning and encourage frequent hand-washing or sanitizing throughout the day. They call for “high standards” of ventilation and hygiene in classrooms, and minimal indoor group gatherings.
The guidelines also call on teachers, staff and students to socially distance around high-risk individuals and encourage the use of masks where social distancing is not possible.
The president again emphasized that “99.95 percent of all fatalities are adults” and “children often only have mild symptoms.” He said that for children with underlying conditions, the flu resulted in more deaths than COVID-19 “by far.”
Still, he said that families should be “empowered to make the decision” about whether or not to return to school. In this vein, Trump said that school funding should go directly to students rather than school districts.
WHITE HOUSE SAYS GUIDELINES TO REOPEN SCHOOLS WILL BE UP TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
“We want it to follow the child, if school is closed, they can go to another school or area.”
He hit House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as being “controlled” by teachers’ unions.
“Democrats don’t like doing anything unless it means doing it for the union, which controls Nancy and Chuck.”
Trump made sure to praise teachers.
“There’s nothing wrong with the union, very few people do I respect more than a great teacher, they are so underappreciated,” Trump continued. ”The great ones among the most important people, but they will be great at a charter school.”
Minority communities, particularly African Americans, “want it so badly," Trump said referring to reopening schools for in-person instruction.
TRUMP VOWS 'PRESSURE' ON GOVERNORS TO REOPEN SCHOOLS
In an event Wednesday, Trump sought to reopen negotiations with the House on school funding, outlining a model that would have money “follow the student,” where students could switch school systems if their current one wanted to remain closed while they wanted to get back to campus.
“I would like the money to follow the students and in this way you can make your own choice," the president said at the event. "If a school is closed, why are we paying the schools?"
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"We know for students and their families they can't be held captive to the people's fears and politics," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos added.