Trump accused of ‘attempting to bury’ CDC warning that fully reopening schools poses highest risk of coronavirus spread | The Independent

Donald Trump has been accused of “attempting to bury” expert guidance that fully reopening schools and universities posed the highest risk of spreading the coronavirus compared to partial or virtual openings.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said the president suppressed the report while pressuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to weaken safety recommendations in a bid to reopen schools faster.

“By trying to bury what the CDC recommends, Trump is betraying every student, teacher and parent in this country,” said Ms. Weingarten, who leads the 1.7 million-member teachers’ union.

Ms Weingarten’s tweet came after The New York Times revealed a 69-page CDC document that found “normal-sized in-person classes, activities, and events” pose the highest risk compared to fully virtual or small classes with distancing.

“The more people a student or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the greater the risk of spreading Covid-19,” the document dated July 8 said. said.

On the same day, Mr Trump said he disagreed with the CDC’s “very strict and costly guidelines” and threatened to cut funding if schools did not reopen.

“Democrats think it would be politically bad for them if American schools open before the November election, but it matters for kids and families. May cut funding if not open!” he said.

On Sunday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos confronted Fox News host Chris Wallace over the president’s threats to suspend schools that have not reopened.

Asked “under what authority” the president could unilaterally cut Congress-approved funding, DeVos said if schools don’t deliver on the promise of an education, they shouldn’t get the funds.

The Fox News host cut her off mid-sentence, saying “well, you can’t do that.”

“You can’t do this unilaterally, you have to do this through Congress,” Wallace said.

Ms. DeVos, who did not say whether schools should follow CDC guidelines, said they were “looking at all options.”

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence said at a Wednesday press briefing that the CDC plans to release new guidelines this week that won’t be as stringent.

“Well, the president said today that we just don’t want the guidelines to be too strict. And that’s why next week the CDC is going to release a new set of tools: five different documents that will give even more clarity on the directions ahead,” Pence said. said.