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Trump disputes CDC guidelines for schools to reopen, threatens to defund those that don’t

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized fall coronavirus reopening guidelines for public schools issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, describing them as “expensive” and “impractical.”

Additionally, the president — who has been openly advocating for public schools and universities to reopen in the fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — said he “may” have to consider cutting some funding as well.

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” he wrote.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1280857657365200902

“The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!” Trump wrote in another tweet.

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway,  Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!” he added in another.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1280853299600789505

A separate tweet from the Trump campaign read, “Experts agree — it’s time to reopen the schools!’

The tweet included a video clip of the nation’s top immunologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying, “It is very important to get children back to school for the unintended negative consequences that occur when we keep them out of school.”

President Trump and his administration have mounted a widening campaign to convince and even cajole school districts to reopen in the fall. Officials note that despite the rise in coronavirus cases among younger Americans, the vast majority of positives have no symptoms or are experiencing very mild ones.

Also, school-aged children are among the lowest, if not in the lowest, age groups at risk for becoming severely infected with COVID-19 and dying, a medical finding health experts have known for months.

At the White House on Tuesday, the president also said he would pressure governors to reopen schools in their states.

“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open. It’s very important,” he said.

Citing experts, the administration says that keeping children out of classrooms and studying online instead could have long-term negative mental health effects. First Lady Melania Trump touched on that as well.

“Children’s mental health and social development must be as much of a priority as physical health,” she said during a forum featuring health and education experts. “The same is true for parents. Many will be forced to make stressful choices between caring for their children and going back to work.”

“It’s clear that the greater risk to our society is to have these schools close,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, said at a separate forum Tuesday, the New York Post reported. “The CDC encourages all schools to do what they need to reopen, and to have plans that anticipate that COVID-19 cases will in fact occur.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, as well as the president, has pointed to Florida’s plan to reopen, requiring schools to be opened in August for at least five days per week.

“Students across the country have already fallen behind. We need to make sure that they catch up,” DeVos said. “It’s expected that it will look different depending on where you are, but what’s clear is that students and their families need more options.”

In a call with governors that The Associated Press obtained, DeVos added that opening schools for just a few days per week “is not a choice at all.”

Jon Dougherty

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