Trump urges K-12 schools to reopen. Others aren’t so sure

Jul 8, 2020 by

President Trump jumped into the debate on children returning to school next month. He says yes, but teachers, parents and health professionals are wary.

President Trump on Tuesday urged the nation’s public schools to reopen “quickly and beautifully” and jabbed at districts like Los Angeles’ that remain uncertain, again injecting politics into the pandemic response.

As the nation’s death toll from COVID-19 surged past 130,000 this week, cases are rising in 38 states, including an outbreak at childcare facilities in Texas. Teachers are anxious. Parents are confused and divided. And public health experts worry that local officials nationwide haven’t spent the time and money to copy the preliminary successes of some European countries that have sent students back to schools in recent weeks.

Federal officials say it can be done, while conceding the risk and the need to track new cases closely. The American Academy of Pediatrics has said it’s imperative for the health of children to give school re-openings a go, given the risk children face of abuse and social isolation at home, among other potential ills.

Yet even many of those urging a return to school worry that Trump’s diminished credibility on managing the virus’ spread makes him ill-suited to lead the kind of debate on balancing competing concerns.

“The president has made himself beyond irrelevant on this, and no one can afford to listen to him because what he has done already is so dangerous and has cost so many lives,” said Arne S. Duncan, who served as secretary of education under President Obama and was the former superintendent of Chicago Public Schools.

Trump, increasingly desperate to revive the economy ahead of November’s election, claimed during a White House roundtable on the subject that school officials who don’t quickly re-open classrooms would be acting in their political self-interest.

Source: Trump urges K-12 schools to reopen. Others aren’t so sure – Los Angeles Times

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