After CDC director Robert Redfield said several times last week that he would send his own grandchildren back to school amid the current pandemic, the CDC released new guidelines Thursday night aimed at encouraging schools to reopen for in-person instruction. It’s a big win for President Trump, who has latched onto the issue of schools reopening in recent weeks.
“Schools are an important part of the infrastructure of communities and play a critical role in supporting the whole child, not just their academic achievement,” the new guidelines began.
A supporting document referenced the ways schools support children’s mental, emotional and psychological development, as well as providing nutrition, increased physical activity, child care for parents, and even medical screening and treatment to many students. The guidelines also noted that students had seen educational losses since shutdowns began in mid-March for most districts and that low-income students had seen worse declines.
“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement announcing the guidelines, The Hill reported. “School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”
CDC: Schools need to reopen
The guidelines recommend differing safety precautions based on the level of virus spread in the community, including social distancing at least six feet, wearing masks, and practicing good hygiene. Schools are recommended to reopen in some capacity except when there is “substantial, uncontrolled” spread in the area.
The guidelines clearly state that schools reopening might cause a small increase in the spread of the disease, but that children are at low risk for both serious complications from the disease and for transmitting it to adults like teachers and their parents.
“Schools should be prepared for COVID-19 cases and exposure to occur in their facilities,” the guidelines read, and recommended coordinating with local health departments when cases do occur.
The document reiterated that school-age children only make up 7% of all coronavirus cases and account for less than .1% of deaths.
Virtual learning not as effective
The guidelines stated that virtual and online learning had not been effective for students during shutdowns last school year, and that in-person instruction was preferred. There’s another reason in-person instruction is better for students and families, however.
“Reopening our schools is also critical to ensuring that parents can go to work and provide for their families,” President Donald Trump said during a press conference Thursday.
Many schools are considering a hybrid instruction model that would see most students attending in person only two days a week. Plans like this would not allow for most parents to return to work even as unemployment extensions and increases may become a thing of the past if they are not extended in the new coronavirus relief bill.
Teachers’ unions have been opposed to reopening schools, with many claiming that doing so would put teachers and students at risk. Even if the CDC guidelines have largely answered those concerns, though, I wouldn’t expect too much movement on the schools’ part.
Looking at some unions’ demands for increased funding and a litany of other far-left talking points, it seems like they are using the current pandemic to enact more of their agendas, and beyond that, to hurt Trump’s re-election chances by keeping the economy restrained.