President Donald Trump endorsed on Thursday the idea of giving federal funds to parents of students for a school of their choice if their local public school districts close during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said he asked Congress to pass $105 billion in funding for schools to help them reopen promptly and safely, unless they refused to do so.
“If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their child to public, private, charter, religious, or home school of their choice,” Trump said. “The keyword being choice. If the school is closed, the money should follow the student.”
“Our goal is to protect our teachers and students from the China virus while ensuring that families with high-risk factors can continue to participate from home, very important,” Trump said.
The president cited the statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that schools be reopened, warning of the dangers to children. He also noted that the National Education Association said that online learning was never an effective replacement for in-person learning.
Trump said that students were already behind in their studies after schools closed in the spring as a result of the pandemic, especially in black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
Trump noted that 99.96 percent of all coronavirus fatalities were among adults, making it safe for students to return to school.
“Children obviously have a very strong immune system,” Trump said.
President Trump said that families should be given the option to make their own choices regarding their children returning to school.
“The life of every child is sacred and must be protected. Our sole focus is the health and welfare of America’s children,” he said.
Trump acknowledged that some schools would have to delay reopening because of coronavirus flareups in their states, but said the decision would be left to governors and local officials.