White House spokesman Jen Psak was asked Tuesday to clarify President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen K-8 schools within 100 days of his presidency.
At an afternoon press conference, a journalist asked Psak to “help us understand” the White House or the president’s definition of “open school.”
“Does that mean teachers in the classroom teach students in the classroom, or does it just mean classroom kids with remote screens? Help us understand,” he asked.
According to Psaki, Biden’s goal was to keep “the majority of schools” – that is, more than 50% – open for the 100th day of his presidency, or April 30th.
“This means that classes must be conducted in the classrooms. So at least one day a week, hopefully more. And obviously as much as it is safe in individual schools and local districts,” – said Psaki.
The journalist asked Psaki what he meant by “some kind of teaching,” to which Psaki replied, “teaching at least one day a week for 100 days in most schools.”
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Biden has repeatedly called for the reopening of “most schools” within 100 days of his presidency. In a meeting with 30 governors in December, Biden stressed the reopening of the school as a key initial step in the incoming administration’s plan to combat the coronavirus epidemic.
“I’m going to ask to be able to open schools at the end of a hundred days,” Biden said during the call. “It’s going to cost a lot of money, but we know how to do it. If we have the money and funding, from ventilation to more teachers to smaller classes – a whole lot of things.”
In a Super Bowl interview on Sunday, Biden reiterated his call for children to return to classrooms. He also said he expects the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) to issue “science-based” guidelines on school reopening requirements by the end of the week – despite the agency issuing guidelines back in September.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky told reporters last week: “There is growing evidence that schools can reopen safely and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated for safe reopening. Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite. safe reopening of schools.
In an interview with Fox News, Dr. Fox Siegel, a medical professor, said, “There is too much confusion between the White House and the CDC.”
He added that any update of his guidelines should reflect the changing circumstances of the epidemic.
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“One day a week of classroom instruction … may be enough to introduce you to your teacher, but that’s not enough to overcome the drastic socialization damage of closing a school.”
Fox News Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.