Reopening schools presents biggest risk for spread of COVID-19: Pelosi

Reopening schools presents biggest risk for spread of COVID-19: Pelosi Picture used for representational purpose (Source:Shutterstock)
Press Trust of India | Jul 13, 2020 - 9:56 a.m. IST
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WASHINGTON: Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on Sunday opposed the Trump administration's move to reopen schools and other educational institutions amid the coronavirus crisis, warning that going back to classes presents the biggest risk for the spread of the disease.

Pelosi's comments came days after President Donald Trump said that he is going to put pressure on the states to reopen schools this fall. “Going back to school presents the biggest risk for the spread of the coronavirus.They ignore science, and they ignore governance in order to make this happen. If there are CDC guidelines, they should be requirements,” Pelosi told CNN in an interview.

However, Education Secretary Betsy Devos appearing on Fox News talk show asserted that getting kids back to school is essential.

“We know that for kids, getting back to school and getting back to learning, getting back with their peers, with their teachers, is really imperative.

And fully operational and fully functioning means that kids can be back there and if four families that need their kids in school in person five days a week, that has to be an option,” Devos said.

Planning reopening of schools

“So, the point needs to be, how do kids get back to learning in the fall full-time and how do we ensure that they get a full-year-plus of learning? They've fallen behind this spring, we need to ensure they're back in a classroom situation wherever possible and whenever possible and fully functioning, fully learning,” Devos said.

Pelosi said that Devos' remarks were malfeasance and dereliction of duty. “This is appalling. They're messing, they're messing -- the president and his administration are messing with the health of our children,” she said.

“We all want our children to go back to school. Teachers do. Parents do. And children do. But they must go back safely. When you hear what the administration is saying, we know that they have no appreciation for the failure that has brought us to this point,” she added.

Danger for students

Responding to questions, Devos on Fox news argued that there's nothing in the data that suggests that kids being in school is in any way dangerous.

“We know that children contract and have the virus at a far lower incidence than any other part of the population and we know that other countries around the world have reopened their schools and have done so successfully and safely, and kids there are going back to school every day. And so, that has got to be the posture here,” she said.

“Parents are expecting that this fall, their kids are going to have a full-time experience with their learning and we need to follow through on that promise,” she added.

Devos said that all of the guidelines are meant to be helpful, to help local education leaders decide and work on how they are going to accomplish what they need to do.

“That is getting kids back in school based on their situation and their realities. We know that schools across the country look very different and that there's not going to be a one-size-fits-all approach to everything,” she said. “But the key is, there has to be a posture of doing something, of action, of getting things going, putting a plan together for your specific school, for your specific district or for your classroom that ensures that kids are going to start learning again this fall,” she added.

The US is the worst-hit country from the virus. According to the Johns Hopkins university data, the country has more than 3.2 million COVID-19 cases with over 130,000 deaths.

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