Hillary Clinton: ‘Teachers Shouldn’t Be Forced to Choose Between Their Lives and Their Jobs’

pledge classroom students
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Hillary Clinton appeared to sour at the Trump administration urging schools to reopen for in-person learning in the Fall, stating that teachers should not have to face the choice between “their lives and their jobs.”

“Teachers shouldn’t be forced to choose between their lives and their jobs,” the former Trump challenger said on Tuesday:

Clinton’s remark comes as states begin to roll out their visions for safely reopening schools in the coming weeks, following months of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Florida Department of Education took a concrete step last week via an executive order signed by Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. The order requires “all school boards and charter school governing boards” to open “brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students” in accordance with guidelines and orders from both state and local health departments.

The order states that extended school closures can “impede educational success of students, impact families’ well-being and limit many parents and guardians from returning to work” and contends that schools provide more than academic learning. Other key aspects include “nutrition, socialization, counseling, and extra-curricular activities.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which “strongly” advocates reintroducing on-site learning for the upcoming academic year, holds a similar line of thinking, stating that schools are “fundamental” to development, providing “academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/speech and mental health therapy, and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits.”

“Beyond supporting the educational development of children and adolescents, schools play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity,” AAP added.

Studies suggest that the Chinese coronavirus behaves differently in children “than other common respiratory viruses, such as influenza, on which much of the current guidance regarding school closures is based.”

Although children and adolescents play a major role in amplifying influenza outbreaks, to date, this does not appear to be the case with SARS-CoV-2. Although many questions remain, the preponderance of evidence indicates that children and adolescents are less likely to be symptomatic and less likely to have severe disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection. Policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within schools must be balanced with the known harms to children, adolescents, families, and the community by keeping children at home.

President Trump, alongside Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is strongly pushing for schools to reopen, drawing ire from several prominent critics:

Trump stated last week:

Now that we have witnessed it on a large scale basis, and firsthand, Virtual Learning has proven to be TERRIBLE compared to In School, or On Campus, Learning. Not even close! Schools must be open in the Fall. If not open, why would the Federal Government give Funding? It won’t!!!

DeVos emphasized that “there’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all approach to everything” in the school reopening process.

“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 said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

A recent Axios/Ipsos poll indicated that the majority of U.S. parents, 71 percent, believe that sending their child back to school poses a risk to their own health and well-being.

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