The largest school district in Georgia reported that 260 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus or are in quarantine because of possible exposure as they prepare for the new school year, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“The second-largest teachers’ union in the United States announced on Tuesday that it would support its 1.7 million members if they choose to strike in districts and states that move to reopen classrooms without adequate health and safety measures,” the New York Times reports.
Said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten: “If authorities don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve, as our executive council voted last week, nothing is off the table.”
“As a mother of four children, I do not trust this president with their lives.”
— Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D), quoted by The Hill, criticizing President Trump’s push for schools to reopen in the fall amid surging coronavirus cases.
“The school attended by President Trump’s son will not fully reopen in September out of concern over the coronavirus pandemic despite the president’s insistence that students across the country be brought back to classrooms in the fall,” the New York Times reports.
“St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, a private school in Washington’s Maryland suburbs, said in a letter to parents that it was still deciding whether to adopt a hybrid model for the fall that would allow limited in-person education or to resume holding all classes completely online as was done in the spring. The school will decide early next month which option to follow.”
Playbook: “How can the White House push schools across the country to open, vowing it’s safe to gather, while at the same time cancel the Republican convention in Jacksonville saying it’s not safe to gather?”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) wants schools to open in the fall, but told Fox News his grandchildren won’t be in them.
Said Scott: “My daughters are going to be more focused on distance learning right now to make sure their children are safe. Other parents are going to want to make sure their kids are in the classroom.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) “indicated both certainty and acceptance that the coronavirus will spread among children when they return to school this fall,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Said Parson: “These kids have got to get back to school…. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals…. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.”
He added: “We gotta move on. We can’t just let this thing stop us in our tracks.”
The White House has blocked CDC officials from testifying in a House Education and Labor Committee hearing scheduled next week on reopening schools, the Daily Beast reports.
“The White House and Senate Republicans are developing plans to prod schools to reopen by attaching incentives or conditions to tens of billions of dollars in new aid as part of the next coronavirus relief bill,” the Washington Post reports.
“Republican officials familiar with the negotiations said the bill may include somewhere between $50 billion and $100 billion for elementary and secondary schools, with one person familiar with the talks saying the target was about $70 billion. Negotiators are looking at another $20 billion to $30 billion for higher education.”
A new Quinnipiac poll finds just 31% of Americans think it’s safe to send students back to school in the fall, including just 37% of parents with children under 18.
“Republican strategists are warning that President Trump’s push to reopen schools will flop with critical suburban voters unless the coronavirus is put in check and confidence in his pandemic leadership revives,” the Washington Examiner reports.
“The U.S. backed down from a high-profile confrontation with Harvard and MIT over visas for foreign students who take online-only classes, ending a tense standoff that could have sent thousands of students back to their home countries and left colleges scrambling to plan for the fall,” Bloomberg reports.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) straight up told people to “kiss my ass” if they continue to oppose reopening schools for political reasons, Mediaite reports.
Said Kennedy: “Maybe they just hate America. Maybe they just enjoy watching the world burn. I think some are liking the chaos because they think it gives them a political advantage.”
“Los Angeles campuses will not reopen for classes on Aug. 18, and the nation’s second-largest school system will continue with online learning until further notice, because of the worsening coronavirus surge,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business that President Trump is considering giving additional federal funding to public school districts that fully reopen for the 2020-2021 school year during the coronavirus pandemic.
Said Kudlow: “The president has said that he’s willing to consider additional aid in order to help reopen the schools.”
Just last week, Trump threatened to withhold funding from schools that do not fully reopen.
“Seventeen states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration on Monday, seeking to block a new rule that would revoke the visas of foreign students who take classes entirely online in the fall,” the New York Times reports.
“The rule, issued a week ago, would upend months of careful planning by colleges and universities, the lawsuit says, and could force many students to return to their home countries during the pandemic, where their ability to study would be severely compromised.”
“President Trump said he’s instructed the Treasury Department to review the tax-exempt status of U.S. schools, colleges and universities, in a pair of tweets that advanced his administration’s weeklong drive to turn education into a political wedge issue,” Politico reports.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the guidelines for reopening schools will not be revised, CNN reports.
Said Redfield: “Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities that are trying to open K-through-12s. It’s not a revision of the guidelines; it’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward.”