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California Democratic lawmaker attacks Gov. Newsom’s union-backed plan keeping schools closed: ‘State-sanctioned segregation’

It has been a rough week for the left-wing Democratic governor of America’s largest state as he attempts to deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Gov. Gavin Newsom first declared limits on social gatherings in indoor dining, only to be discovered — and photographed — attending an indoor birthday party at a restaurant with a dozen other people. Adding insult to injury, it turned out that some of the people with him were officials from the California Medical Association — presumably folks who should have known better.

And now, as schools are being closed around the country despite the fact that COVID-19 infection rates in schools have been lower than infection rates in their surrounding communities, Newsom’s policies on school closures are getting new scrutiny.

Though many Californians have been begging the government to reopen the schools, Newsom — at the behest of the unions — has chosen to keep them closed, which means most of the Golden State’s 6 million public school students are stuck going to school remotely, Politico reported.

Even Democrats are beginning to notice and call out the governor for what seems an inconsistent and discriminatory policy, as even areas with the lowest infection rates are not even trying to get back to school — despite the fact that the communities and the schools are remarkably low in COVID-19 cases.

And as the year wears on, Newsom’s fellow Democrats are pointing out that the state’s approach to schools is disproportionately impacting low-income and minority communities.

In fact, the governor was recently called out for announcing that he was sending his own kids back to private school in Sacramento, while the city’s public schools remained shuttered, Politico pointed out.

Actually, Democrats are doing more than pointing out Newsom’s inconsistent school stances: They’re actually turning on him.

State Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, ripped the union-backed policy that Newsom has stuck to.

O’Donnell said in an interview, according to Politico, that the state’s current system amounts to “state-sanctioned segregation.”

“Some kids get to go and some don’t. That’s not what California stands for,” he said, the paper reported. “I think we need to move faster but remain thoughtful.”

According to O’Donnell, the state needs Newsom to lead and to provide “strong guidance.”

“We might be dead last to open,” he warned, “and our students might be dead last when it comes to academic success if we’re not careful.”

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Philadelphia scraps plans to reopen schools this month. City’s 120,000 students will stay home indefinitely.

Philadelphia’s public schools had planned to reopen to some grades at the end of November, but now the city is scrapping that plan and keeping its schools shuttered indefinitely, leaving 120,000 students stuck with virtual instruction.

What’s that now?

School Superintendent William Hite Jr. announced Tuesday that he made the decision to continue virtual education “to help safeguard the health and well-being of our staff, students, and school communities” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the city and across the U.S., the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The city’s teachers’ union praised Hite’s announcement as a “big victory,” the paper said. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers had opposed returning to schools during the current spike in cases.

The city initially planned to bring back pre-K through second-grade students for in-person instruction starting Nov. 30. The teachers for those grades were scheduled to return to their classrooms Monday.

Hite claimed he wanted students to return to school as soon as possible, but now the 32,000 students who would have been eligible to return to school at the end of the month don’t know when they’ll eventually get back into the classroom.

And with this announcement, the 120,000 students in the city’s public schools will have to stay home indefinitely, the Inquirer said, noting that the school district “hopes” it will be able to return to in-person instruction someday.

The superintendent said he knew the decision was “disappointing for many families and many students” and lamented that the lack of school time had a disproportionate impact on kids in poverty who do not live in conditions where learning can happen.

According to the paper, the district has “no timetable” for when students will be able to return to school — if ever.

Philadelphia’s health commissioner, Thomas Fraley, said be backed Hite’s call, saying, “There’s no question we are in a dangerous period.”

PFT President Jerry Jordan celebrated the decision, saying in a statement, “The decision to remain fully virtual for the foreseeable future will save lives. The science of COVID-19, paired with the massive ventilation and other facilities issues throughout the District, makes it clear: Returning to school buildings, in any capacity, is unsafe right now,” the Inquirer reported.

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We should open up the schools — and the voting booths — says … Dr. Fauci

President Donald Trump’s push for reopening America’s schools this fall and for in-person voting in November got an unexpected boost Friday when the Washington Post revealed that Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, offered support for the moves.

What did he say about schools?

In an interview with the Post’s “Power Up,” Fauci, the media’s favorite COVID expert whose opinions they often juxtapose with Trump’s, said the “default principle” should be to do whatever possible to get students — elementary, middle, high school, and even some colleges — back in school.

“The default principle should be to try as best you can to get the children back to school,” Fauci said, the Post reported. “The big, however, and qualifier in there is that you have to have a degree of flexibility. The flexibility means if you look at the map of our country, we are not unidimensional with regard to the level of infection.”

He added, of course, that the health and safety of the kids should be paramount.

“The bottom line is everybody should try within the context of the level of infection that you have to get the kids back to school,” he told the paper, “but the primary consideration … should be the safety, health and the welfare of the children, as well as the teachers and the potential secondary effects on parents and family members.”

However, the coronavirus isn’t the only health concern for kids, Fauci pointed out. He also noted the importance of protecting children’s overall health:

Fauci explained the need to protect the psychological and physical well being of children — especially those “who rely heavily on school for proper nutrition” — and to prevent a ‘negative downstream ripple effect’ of parents being overburdened if schools remain shuttered.

So, what does Fauci recommend? From the Post:

? States with minimal virus: “So if you’re in one of those areas, generally referred to as the green states … with some overlap with others and generally, you can get back to school with the kinds of precautions that you do in general society,” he said.
? States with “smoldering infections”: “You might want to tighten that up a bit and do things like, you know, the hybrid models where you have part online, part in person,” he said.
? States with high infections: In consultation with local authorities, and the Centers for Disease Control, “they may want to pause before they start sending the kids back to school for a variety of reasons.”

What did Fauci say about voting?

President Trump has been insisting that states conduct in-person voting come Nov. 3 and has repeatedly criticized calls for states to offer mail-in balloting.

Though Fauci was careful not to criticize voting by mail, knowing whatever he said would be used as a soundbite, he did appear to back opening up voting booths for in-person voting, noting that it can be done with practices that would make it as safe as shopping for groceries.

“It’s a sport now in Washington to pit me against the president, and I don’t really want to do that,” he told the Post. “But someone will take a quote and bingo, it’ll be me against the president and I don’t want to do that.”

“I don’t see any reason why, if people maintain that type of physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands — why you cannot, at least where I vote, go to a place and vote.” Fauci said.

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Montgomery County, Maryland, caves, will allow private schools to reopen this fall

A Maryland county at the center of a growing controversy over school reopenings has decided not to go to battle in court with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), according to breaking reports from the Washington Post.

Montgomery County, which is one of the wealthiest and most populous counties in the entire country, has already decided that it is unsafe for public schools to open for in-person learning in the fall, no matter what precautions may be taken by their local schools.

Moreover, the county’s Health Department decreed last Friday that all private schools would be required to remain closed for in-person learning through at least the first week of October, even though many of those schools had taken extraordinary measures to provide for the safety and health of their students and teachers.

After a wave of protests, Hogan entered the fray on Monday, issuing an order that rescinded the authority of county governments in Maryland to decree that schools must remain closed wholesale. Specifically, Hogan declared that Montgomery County’s decree was “overly broad” and that the county could only close private schools on a case-by-case basis if a determination was made that the school in question was unsafe.

In response, Montgomery County withdrew its order, which was based on Hogan’s emergency directive. However, according to a Washington Post report, the county responded by issuing a new order, based on different law, that once again directs private schools to remain closed until October.

Montgomery County health officer Travis Gayles said in a news conference earlier this week that he believed it was unsafe for any school to open this fall under any conditions, and his new order reflects that belief.

According to the Post report, Gayles’ new order no longer refers to Hogan’s original directive, but instead points to sections of the Maryland Code that purportedly give county health officials powers to act independently to “prevent the spread of communicable disease” in their jurisdiction.

Hogan responded by issuing a memo Thursday afternoon to all county health officers, stating his belief that the law relied upon by Montgomery County could not be used to issue a blanket order demanding the closure of all private schools, and touting the state’s willingness to engage in litigation, if necessary, to ensure that their interpretation of the law was followed.

Gayles responded Friday by announcing that he was withdrawing both of his previous orders, even though he continued to “strongly advise schools against in-person learning.”

Critics of Gayles’ plan pointed out that none of Montgomery County’s neighboring counties had a similar order, and that Gayles’ plan may well have not been entirely based in science, given that private schools would have been permitted to reopen in-person learning the day after the deadline for school enrollment censuses, which determine how much federal and state aid is allotted to public school districts.

For now, Gayles’ decision appears to leave the matter closed, although it remains possible that Gayles will attempt to order all private schools in the county to remain closed on a “case by case basis,” which could lead to further litigation.

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New York City teachers’ union protests school reopening plan with guillotines and coffins

A group of protesters marched from the United Federation of Teachers headquarters to the New York City Department of Education offices on Monday, displaying a number of props designed to convey the dramatic message that the Department of Education was killing them.

According to the New York Post, the protest included about 200 people, “many” of whom were described to be educators, administration officials, or parents. They carried along with them a homemade yellow guillotine with “DOE” written on the blade, and “US” written where the head should go. They also reportedly carried along at least two coffins draped in black, and three body bags.

The protesters were upset about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to partially reopen schools this fall. They reportedly chanted “We demand safe schools!” as they marched, and complained to media personnel who attended the protest that de Blasio’s plan did not do enough to protect their safety.

Many on social media noted that, among other issues with the protest, the protesters were literally not observing proper social distancing during the course of their protest, which made their protestations about lack of proper safeguards ring a bit hollow.

Also, presumably these same teachers have been utilizing the services of the food processing and distribution industries, as well as the transportation industry and health care industry, which have been required to be at work since the pandemic began.

School reopening plans have emerged as one of the hottest political issues going into election season. The Trump administration, backed by the CDC and the American Pediatric Association, have strongly encouraged local schools to reopen in the fall for in-person learning, with the possible exception of some urban areas that are particularly hard hit or active hot spots for the infection.

Teachers’ unions, on the other hand, have strongly resisted plans to reopen local schools, and in many cases have attempted to use their leverage with the public to demand a list of far-fetched, non-germane liberal policies before they will willingly return to their jobs.

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New York nurse who fought on front lines against COVID-19 calls on teachers to ‘do their jobs’ — just like she did

States and school districts around the country are debating what to do about opening schools this fall. Some teachers and their unions are threatening to strike if forced to go back to work earlier than they believe is safe.

The ongoing fight is prompting parents, policymakers, and observers to ask: Aren’t teachers essential workers?

That position was laid out in an op-ed in The Atlantic on Tuesday by Kristen McConnell, a New York nurse and writer.

McConnell’s “I’m a Nurse in New York. Teachers Should Do Their Jobs, Just Like I Did.” piece demanded to know why teachers should not have to go back to work at the very schools our government — and the teachers from those schools — have long claimed are essential to keeping our society functioning.

What did she say?

She began by noting that her husband is a New York City public-school teacher who is adamantly against a teacher strike and “understands on a deep, personal level his duty to serve his country in the classroom.” He knows, McConnell wrote, that she, as a nurse caring for COVID-19 victims, had a role fill for the nation’s well-being and that he also has a similar role to play:

We have two young children, one of whom is developmentally disabled, and I’m an intensive-care nurse. Through the spring, I took care of COVID-19 patients at the hospital while he toggled between teaching on Zoom and helping our daughters through their own lessons. He knows that I did my part for society, and that now he should, too.

McConnell went on to explain that she supports teacher-led efforts to make sure safety measures are put in place by the districts and that states or cities with spikes in cases should keep schools closed for now — along with indoor businesses. But what she refuses to support, she said, is making threats to hold “safety strikes” the way the American Federation of Teachers did last week.

According to McConnell, the strike threats “run counter to the fact that, by and large, school districts are already fine-tuning social-distancing measures and mandating mask-wearing.” These measures, she noted, are effective — which is why she and her fellow nurses practice them daily.

Then she noted that teachers have an obligation to “rise to the occasion even if it makes them nervous, just like health-care workers have”:

Instead of taking the summer to hone arguments against returning to the classroom, administrators and teachers should be thinking about how they can best support children and their families through a turbulent time. Schools are essential to the functioning of our society, and that makes teachers essential workers. They should rise to the occasion even if it makes them nervous, just like health-care workers have.

My husband, playing devil’s advocate while we discussed this (we both know how eager he is to go back), said, “Arguably health-care workers sort of signed up for this kind of risk, but teachers did not.”

I replied, “Absolutely not!” Doctors and nurses sign up for work that is sometimes high-stress for us and sometimes life-or-death for our patients, not for us. Aside from those who choose to work in biocontainment or offer their services in war zones, we are not expected to do crucial medical work under potentially lethal circumstances.

Anything else?

Knowing that many defenders of teachers who refuse to return to work would surely argue that nurses and teachers are fundamentally different on the essentiality scale, McConnell noted that the country is essentially at war and the people in positions that keep our society in tact are needed at the front lines.

“This was a war, and I was a soldier,” she said, then remembering when the pandemic first started. “It wasn’t my choice to serve, but it was my duty; I had skills and knowledge that were needed.”

Besides, she added, if grocery store clerks are “essential,” certainly teachers are, too:

So I can understand that teachers are nervous about returning to school. But they should take a cue from their fellow essential workers and do their job. Even people who think there’s a fundamental difference between a nurse and a teacher in a pandemic must realize that there isn’t one between a grocery-store worker and a teacher, in terms of obligation. People who work at grocery stores in no way signed up to expose themselves to disease, but we expected them to go to work, and they did. If they had not, society would have collapsed. What do teachers think will happen if working parents cannot send their children to school? Life as we know it simply will not go on.

She concluded her piece with an encouragement for teachers who are concerned that maybe they don’t have what it takes — a feeling she had when COVID-19 reared its ugly head: “I knew I wouldn’t fail — the skills I had were the very reason I had been called upon to do this work. The same is true of teaching through a pandemic.”

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Bill Gates sides with President Trump on reopening schools this fall: ‘The benefits outweigh the costs’ for young children

President Donald Trump has been a leading advocate for getting America’s schoolchildren back to their classrooms — even going so far as threatening to pull federal funding from schools that refuse to open this fall.

Last week, the president softened his demand that all schools open immediately, noting that some schools might need to delay reopening, but he’s not letting up on his overall push to get kids back to in-person learning.

Many local leaders, teachers, parents, politicians, and activists have been fighting Trump on his plan and accusing him of putting the health and welfare of teachers, students, and students’ families at risk for his political agenda.

But the president this week found that he had a well-known, influential ally in the push to reopen schools — and he’s not some conservative or Republican toady.

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates told CNBC Tuesday that he believes the benefits for young kids returning to school outweigh the costs.

What did Gates say?

In an interview that aired on “Squawk Box” Tuesday, Gates was asked if he would send his own kids to school at this time. Gates responded that in-person classroom instruction is vital for young students, particularly elementary age, and that he supports reopening, despite the ongoing pandemic.

“I’m a big believer that for young children, the benefits in almost every location — particularly if you can protect the teachers well — the benefits outweigh the costs,” Gates said.

Though he believes face-to-face learning is important for middle and high schoolers, he did acknowledge that with older students, the effort to get them back in the classroom gets trickier.

He noted that when dealing with teenage students, parents and local policymakers should focus on their community’s desires and capabilities.

If the “locale” is not in, he said, “then you have to put massive effort into trying to get there to be continued learning online.”

Gates said his charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has spent millions promoting education, has “revamped” its efforts in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak and is focusing more on providing online instruction for students whose schools choose to remain closed.

“Our foundation has revamped our education work to really jump in and help out,” he said, “get those online capabilities up, make sure that minority students and low-income students aren’t suffering the most throughout all of this.”

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CDC emphasizes reopening schools is ‘critically important for our public health’ in new guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidelines on schools reopening during the coronavirus pandemic. In the new guidance unveiled Thursday, the CDC emphasized that sending students back to school was “critically important.”

“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said.

The CDC released “new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers when schools open this fall.” The resources, which include advice and checklists, are available on the CDC website.

“The CDC resources released today will help parents, teachers and administrators make practical, safety-focused decisions as this school year begins,” Redfield added. “I know this has been a difficult time for our Nation’s families. 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.”

“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 U.S. national public health agency stated.

“The harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant,” the CDC website read. “Aside from a child’s home, no other setting has more influence on a child’s health and well-being than their school.”

“The best available evidence from countries that have opened schools indicates that COVID-19 poses low risk to school-aged children,” the CDC said on its website. “Reopening schools creates an opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets – our children – while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families.”

“With states, cities, and communities around the United States experiencing different levels of coronavirus transmission, jurisdictions should ensure appropriate public health strategies are in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the first step in creating a safer school environment,” the CDC stated.

“Children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults,” the agency said. “While some children have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up nearly 95% of reported COVID-19 cases.”

“Early reports suggest children are less likely to get COVID-19 than adults, and when they do get COVID-19, they generally have a less serious illness,” the CDC continued. “As of July 21, 2020, 6.6% of reported COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1% of COVID-19-related deaths are among children and adolescents less than 18 years of age in the United States.”

The CDC advised education officials to “consider community transmission risk” before reopening classrooms.

“Evidence from schools internationally suggests that school re-openings are safe in communities with low SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates,” the CDC stated. “Computer simulations from Europe have suggested that school re-openings may further increase transmission risk in communities where transmission is already high.”

The CDC also admitted that “there is mixed evidence about whether returning to school results in increased transmission or outbreaks.” The guidance referenced steady declines in coronavirus cases in Denmark schools, but there was a “surge of new cases and outbreaks in schools after reopening and relaxing social distancing measures” in Israel.

“Then, working in collaboration with their state and local health departments, school administrators can employ strategies that best match the local conditions and actions that are practical and feasible in their schools to help protect the health and safety of everyone – including students, teachers, and other staff,” the updated guidelines stated.

“Implement multiple SARS-CoV-2 mitigation strategies (e.g., social distancing, cloth face coverings, hand hygiene, and use of cohorting),” the CDC site stated. “Maintain healthy environments (e.g., cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces).”

“Plans for virtual learning should be in place in the event of a school closure,” the CDC recommended.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump said that all schools should be “actively making preparations to open.” However, he warned that some schools in areas with a high COVID-19 positivity rates “may need to delay reopening for a few weeks.”

“If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their children to the public, private, charter, religious or home school,” President Trump said. “All families should be empowered to make the decision that is right for their circumstance.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District and the San Diego Unified School District, California’s two largest school districts, will not reopen for in-person instruction when the academic year starts in August, and instead will offer virtual classes.

Atlanta public schools’ first nine weeks of the school year will be carried out remotely.

New York City, the largest school district in the country, may use a staggered in-person model for reopening classrooms where students attend school one to three days a week to enable social distancing. However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said he wouldn’t make a decision on reopening schools until days before the school year is scheduled to begin, which is on Sept. 10.

“The final decisions will be made as we get right up to it based on the data we have in front of us,” de Blasio said during a Thursday news conference.

The United States surpassed 4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases this week and now has over 144,000 coronavirus deaths.

On Wednesday, Redfield appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and said that would “absolutely” be comfortable with his school-aged grandchildren attend school this fall.

“The only one that there may be some reservation is my grandson with cystic fibrosis, depending on how he can be accommodated in the school that he’s in,” Redfield said. “My other 10 grandchildren, of those, eight of them are school-aged, I’m 100% that they can get back to school.”

Redfield also commented on the ongoing face mask debate.

“If all Americans would embrace that [masks] as part of their personal responsibility to confront this outbreak, we could actually have a very significant impact on the outbreak that we’re seeing across the country in the next four, six, eight, 10, 12 weeks,” Redfield explained.

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LA teachers union demands police be defunded and charters ended before schools reopen

With classes set to begin in August, the main teachers union in Los Angeles argued that schools cannot physically reopen unless certain policy demands are met, including the defunding of police, the end of charter schools, and the granting of financial support to undocumented students and their families.

The list of demands came in the form of a research paper issued recently by the 35,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles union, the Washington Examiner reported.

In the paper, the union wrote: “The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States underscores the deep equity and justice challenges arising from our profoundly racist, intensely unequal society. Unlike other countries that recognize protecting lives is the key to protecting livelihoods, the United States has chosen to prioritize profits over people. The Trump administration’s attempt to force people to return to work on a large scale depends on restarting physical schools so parents have childcare.

“In Los Angeles, this means increasing risk especially in Black and Brown working communities, where people are more likely to have ‘essential’ jobs, insufficient health care, higher levels of preexisting health conditions, and to live in crowded housing,” the paper continued, alleging that students who face hurdles such as “structural racism” and “immigration documentation issues” have been disproportionately affected.

Essentially, the union is arguing that reopening schools without a vaccine will further spread the virus and compound trauma on certain groups of students, the California Globe reported. On its face, it looks like the union is using the pandemic to push its political agenda.

In the paper, the union concludes that “normal wasn’t working for us before … we can’t go back.”

Here are the specifics: Under the subsection “Local Support,” the union argued for defunding the police and a “moratorium” on charter schools.

“Police violence is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue,” the paper said. “We must shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.”

As for charter schools, they should be temporarily suspended, the union said. The paper argued that “privately operated, publicly funded charter schools drain resources from district schools.” They also accused such schools of “double-dipping” during the pandemic by “taking federal small business bailout loans even though state funding did not decline this school year.”

The paper also highlighted the state’s more than 2 million undocumented residents who they claim are unfairly ineligible for federal and state benefits and subject to “ICE raids and mass deportations.” Those undocumented students and their families “must be supported during this crisis,” the union argued.

President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have called for all schools to fully reopen this fall and threatened to cut federal funding for schools that refuse.

Last week, an overwhelming majority of UTLA members voted against physically reopening Los Angeles schools on Aug. 18.

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Trump threatens to cut federal funding for schools that refuse to reopen in the fall

President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are threatening to cut federal funding for schools that elect not to fully reopen come the start of the school year this fall.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, the president wrote: “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!”

Trump added in a separate tweet his displeasure with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on reopening schools in the fall, calling it “impractical” and “expensive.”

The CDC guidelines suggest virtual classes and activities, modified seating layouts, sneeze guard installations, and separated lunch times, among other things, in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

What else?

The president’s comments came alongside a similar message from DeVos Tuesday night when the secretary spoke with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson about what the federal government could do to make sure kids return to classrooms in the coming months.

DeVos confirmed to Carlson that she is “very seriously” considering withholding federal funds from schools that remain physically closed.

“Kids have got to continue learning,” she said. “Schools have got to open up, there has got to be concerted effort to address the needs of all kids, and adults who are fearmongering and making excuses simply have got to stop doing it and turn their attention on what is right for students and for their families.”

DeVos did note, however, that the bulk of funding for public schools across America does not come from the federal level, but from the state and local levels — “in excess of 90%,” she said.

Though it may be a small percentage, federal funding for K-12 schools is still significant. According to Politico, it “includes billions for low-income schools and special education.” So by withholding funding, the Trump administration would certainly heap pressure on school districts across the country to reopen.

Anything else?

A national consensus on reopening schools has yet to develop, as several states, especially across the South and West regions of the country, have experienced a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

Some state leaders, such as the education commissioner in Florida who ordered all schools to open full-time come August, are pushing for full reopening, while others are more wary.

Top public health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated in early June that it was time to start thinking about reopening schools, arguing that saying we “shouldn’t open schools” is “a bit of a reach.” But that was before the recent surge.

Fauci appeared to change tune Tuesday — though not commenting specifically on schools — when he said, “the current state [of the virus spread] is really not good … we are still knee deep in the first wave.”