On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to clarify President Biden’s goal to reopen schools in the first 100 days of his presidency. This came as the Teacher’s Union in Chicago voted to return to in-person learning as early as Thursday.
Psaki made the clarification in response to a reporter’s question on the issue where he asked her to “help us understand” exactly what Biden meant by an “open school.”
“Does it mean teachers in classroom teaching students in classrooms or does it just mean kids in classrooms with a remote screen? Help us understand,” the reporter asked.
Psaki’s answer referred to a goal that involved what she termed as a “majority of schools” which indicates over 50% of them would reopen. She was not more specific than that. Biden touted getting the majority of K-8 schools reopened in the first 100 days of his presidency. That would mean classes would be up and running by April 30.
Video Credit: C-SPAN
“That means some teaching in classrooms. So at least one day a week, hopefully, it’s more. And obviously, it is as much as is safe in each school and local district,” Psaki stated.
More clarification was desired by the reporter. He wanted to know what she actually meant when she said “some teaching.” Psaki answered: “Teaching at least one day a week in the majority of schools by day 100.” The stunning answer seems to redefine Biden’s original claims for reopening classrooms to students.
Last December, Biden was part of a call with 30 governors on the subject. He made the reopening of schools a focal point of his new administration along with the handling of the coronavirus.
“I’m going to ask that we’re going to be able to open schools at the end of one hundred days,” Biden proclaimed. “That’s going to take a lot of money, but we know how to do it. If we have the money and the funding everything from ventilation to more teachers to smaller class sizes – a whole range of things.”
Prior to the Super Bowl on Sunday, Biden once again renewed his call for classrooms to reopen. He claimed that the CDC would be issuing new “science-based” guidelines that pertain to the reopening of schools.
The CDC’s Director Rochelle Walensky stated last week that “there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely,” Psaki strangely claimed that the comment did not equate “official guidance” from the CDC.
Dr. Marc Siegel told Fox News in an interview that “there’s too much intermixing between what the White House says and what the CDC says.”
“Having in-classroom instruction one day a week … might be enough to introduce you to your teacher, but it’s not enough to overcome the drastic socialization damage we are seeing from school closure.”
Teacher’s Unions in a number of large cities have resisted sending teachers back into classrooms due to the pandemic. They have pushed for remote learning instead. But that appears to be changing. According to NBC5Chicago, the Chicago Teacher’s Union voted on Wednesday to return to in-person learning in all Chicago Public Schools classrooms as early as Thursday morning.
President Biden has not urged governors or Teacher’s Unions to reopen classrooms. The reopening of classrooms in Chicago appears to be driven by pressure from the mayor and parents in that city.
The New York Post notes that “Psaki was asked if Biden would choose the nation’s children or teachers unions, Psaki insisted the question was ‘a little bit unfair.'”
“I think it’s time for schools to reopen safely – safely,” Biden said in an interview with CBS. “You have to have fewer people in the classroom, you have to have ventilation systems that have been reworked.”
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