Biden promises to reopen schools ‘as quickly as possible’

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President Joe Biden has promised to declare safely reopening of schools as soon as his Secretary of Education is confirmed by the Congress.

In his recent statement released on February 12, the President said, “One of my goals as President is to reopen America’s schools as quickly and as safely as possible. In our first three weeks in office, we’ve made progress. Today, more schools are open to more students during the pandemic than was the case under my predecessor.

“But we can do more. Shortly before taking office, I set an ambitious but achievable goal of opening most K-8 schools by the end of my first 100 days. I’ve said all along that this is a national imperative — one that can only be achieved if Congress provides states and communities with the resources they need to get it done safely through the American Rescue Plan.”

He further noted that with strict guidance from scientists, he believed that schools could safely be reopened.

“It is also a goal we can meet if we follow the science. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, has provided the best available scientific evidence on how to reopen schools safely.   

“These scientific guidelines tell us that our schools are safer when we have appropriate distancing in classrooms and on school buses, when masks are worn consistently and properly, when handwashing occurs regularly, and when we are able to effectively respond to cases through testing and contact tracing, and when we follow other recommended steps. To meet these guidelines, some schools will need more teachers and support staff to ensure smaller class sizes, more buses and bus drivers to transport our kids safely, more spaces to conduct in-person instruction, and more protective equipment, school cleaning services, and physical alterations to reduce the risk of spread of the virus,” he said.

He then noted that inactions on the part of stakeholders in the country could cost a huge financial lost for individual and the states.

“These needs cost money. But the cost of keeping our children, families, and educators safe is nothing when compared with the cost of inaction. Today, an entire generation of young people is on the brink of being set back up to a year or more in their learning. We are already seeing rising mental health concerns due in part to isolation. Educational disparities that have always existed grow wider each day that our schools remain closed and remote learning isn’t the same for every student. Our educators are frontline workers who are doing everything they can to protect and educate our students, despite a lack of resources and as districts face budget crises that risk education jobs. Moms — and dads — are exiting the workforce in astonishing numbers in order to care for and manage the school experience for their children at home, hindering their own opportunities and further undermining the health of our economy.

“We have sacrificed so much in the last year. But science tells us that if we support our children, educators, and communities with the resources they need, we can get kids back to school safely in more parts of the country sooner,” the President said.

He promised that schools will reopen as soon as his Secretary of Education is confirmed, as he had planned to “task him with working alongside school administrators, educators, and parents to safely accelerate the process of school reopenings”.

He encouraged all state government to follow CDC’s recommendation when planning to open schools.

“As many states continue to follow the CDC’s recommendation to prioritize teachers for vaccination, I urge all states to follow suit,” he said

“And given the irreversible costs of inaction, Congress needs to pass the American Rescue Plan right away — for our children, our families, our community, and our country,” he concluded

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