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The White House coronavirus task force is slated Wednesday to hold a press briefing on reopening schools at the Department of Education after the U.S. reported a record single-day spike of 60,000 cases on Tuesday.
Earlier Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he disagrees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on reopening schools safely in the fall, calling them tough and expensive.
The CDC published guidelines in May for what schools ought to consider in how to bring students back into buildings. The guidance recommends more frequent and intensive cleanings, distancing students, closing communal areas and more. That could mean asking schools to hire more staff and invest in re-fitting school buildings, which could weigh especially heavily on districts with less funding.
Trump’s tweet about the guidelines comes one day after he vowed to pressure state officials and educators into reopening schools — even as several states continue to grapple with rapidly expanding outbreaks.
“We’re very much going to put pressure on the governors and the schools to reopen,” Trump said at a White House event Tuesday on school reopenings. “Open your schools in the fall,” the president told state officials and school teachers in attendance.
Schools across the country closed early for the year when the virus hit the U.S. hard in March, moving from in-person learning to distance, or virtual, learning. However, educators have emphasized that virtual learning is disruptive to student growth and many students depend on their schools as a safe environment and source of meals.
Last month, the United Nations published a report about the impact of school closures on children around the world, saying that “we have seen a rise in violence and hate online” as a result of school closures.
Children who become infected with the virus are less likely to become severely sick, according to data from the CDC, but some children have exhibited serious health complications and some have died. Scientists are still researching the long-term health consequences for adult and childhood survivors of Covid-19.
The role of children in overall spread of the virus remains unclear as well. Epidemiologists have stressed that there isn’t good data that shows how easily children are infected with the virus and whether they play a major role in transmission.