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The Biden administration appears to be at war with itself, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention taking an entirely different stance than the White House in regard to schools reopening.
The drama began to unfold Wednesday morning when CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a briefing in Washington that vaccinating teachers isn’t a prerequisite for reopening schools.
“I want to be clear that there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely,” Walensky said.
But asked during a briefing later that afternoon whether she agrees with the CDC director’s remarks, White House press secretary Jen Psaki seemed to pooh-pooh them.
“I saw the comments of Dr. Walensky, but I will say that … they have not released their official guidance yet from the CDC on the vaccination of teachers and what would be needed to ensure the safe reopening of schools. And so we’d certainly defer to that, which we hope to see soon. The president himself has talked about the importance and the priority of vaccinating teachers,” she said.
Now fast-forward to Wednesday evening when, speaking on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” Walensky essentially doubled down, saying bluntly that “the science shows” that it’s safe for schools to reopen and for teachers and students to return to class so long as “proper mitigation measures are taken.”
“I want to be clear about what the science shows and what I believe and how we should prioritize. There is accumulating data that suggests that there is not a lot of transmission that is happening is schools when proper mitigation measures are taken,” she said.
“When there is masking, when there is distancing, de-densification of the classroom, ventilation, contract tracing, hand washing. All of those things, when they are done well, the data suggests, the science suggests, that there is not a lot of transmission happening in schools and in fact the case rates in schools are generally lower than they are in the population surrounding it.”
She added that teachers are still encouraged to get vaccinated, but that until they do receive a vaccination, they’ll be fine.
“I can emphasize that I believe teachers should get vaccinated. But I also think that the science tells us that if we can do the proper mitigation measures, and I would emphasize, if we have the funding to do the proper mitigation measures as is put forth in the American rescue plan, that we can reopen schools safely even if all of the teachers are not vaccinated,” she explained.
So which is it, and why does this disagreement exist in the first place?
According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, it exists not because of the science and not because of any funding issues — rather, it exists because President Joe Biden is desperate to appease the radically far-left teachers unions that are fighting tooth and nail to keep students forever locked away at home.
“Federal funding is no obstacle here. That’s more goalpost-moving. Congress has poured more than $110 billion into making education safe. As of last week, states and school districts had only spent about $4 billion of the roughly $68 billion we set aside for K-12 schools. That leaves $64 billion in the pipeline already,” he explained in a Senate floor speech Wednesday.
“And remember, science tells us that schools are largely made safe with simple precautions. Science is not the obstacle. Federal money is not the obstacle. The obstacle is a lack of willpower. Not among students. Not among parents. Just among the rich, powerful unions that donate huge sums to Democrats and get a stranglehold over education in many communities.”
“After spending millions to support President Biden and other Democrats in the 2020 election cycle, teachers unions are finding Biden to be a reliable ally as they fight back against school districts and parents who want them to return to classrooms amid the coronavirus pandemic,” Fox News notes.
And this despite the teachers unions’ arguments belying the actual science that Walensky has repeatedly tried to explain.
“Perhaps you’ve heard, a few thousand times, that the Biden Administration will listen to the science. Well, the science says schools can safely reopen, but the White House is still listening, make that bowing, to the non-scientists who run the teachers unions.” @WSJopinion 💯
— steve hilton (@SteveHiltonx) February 4, 2021
It’s SAFE to send children back to schools. Why is the Biden Administration ignoring science and siding with the teacher’s unions?
— Ronny Jackson (@RonnyJacksonTX) January 30, 2021
Sen. John Cornyn: “When it comes to reopening schools, President Biden needs to take his own advice and listen to the science and not the teacher’s unions.” pic.twitter.com/jzTRid8wEU
— Forbes (@Forbes) February 3, 2021
Even National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, a man who’s been made into a folk hero by the far-left, has admitted that reopening schools is the appropriate decision.
“I would back the CDC recommendations, because that is really based on data. We didn’t fully appreciate that early on, but the fact is… it’s less likely for a child to get infected in the school setting than if they were just in the community,” he said during an appearance on MSNBC late last week.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Democrat who competed against Biden in the 2020 Democrat primary elections, also agrees.
“It’s time for Joe Biden to stand up and to say, the kids are the most important things, important players here. And the teachers just are going to have to suck it up and stand up and provide an education,” he reportedly said Wednesday on MSNBC.
It appears that everybody, from Biden’s own CDC director to congressional Republicans, Dr. Fauci and former Democrat presidential running candidates, seems to agree. Everybody, that is, save for Biden and his union cronies.
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