President Joe Biden lamented the fact that many of the nation’s children have been out of school for an entire year during the coronavirus pandemic, even though he has supported the teacher’s unions that have refused to return to in-person learning.
Biden said, as he addressed the nation Thursday evening, Americans have suffered many losses during this past year of the pandemic. He included among those losses:
Watching a generation of children who may be set back up to a year or more because they’ve not been in school, because of their loss of learning.
Though the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has consistently stated the risk for the transmission of the COVID-19 virus is minimal in schools, teachers’ unions in cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles have defied orders to return to in-classroom instruction, even to the extent of threatening strikes.
The Biden administration’s CDC director Rochelle Walensky has said schools should be able to reopen with common mitigation methods that include the use of masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing.
“We can re-open schools safely, even if all of the teachers are not vaccinated,” Walensky said in early February on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show and added:
There’s accumulating data that suggests that there is not a lot of transmission that is happening in schools when the proper mitigation measures are taken, when there is masking, when there is distancing, de-densification of the classroom, ventilation, contact tracing, hand-washing, all of those things, when they’re done well, the data suggests, the science suggests that there is not a lot of transmission happening in schools, and in fact, the case rates in schools are generally lower than they are in the population surrounding it. So, that’s what the data and the science suggest. And that we definitely want to have the community rates of disease go down. We want to make sure that that is happening as well. But the data suggests that it’s safe to go back to school if you do all of those mitigation measures.
Later, however, Biden appeared to be providing cover for the unions when he told CBS Evening News they “want to go back to school” but “need some guidance.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki then revealed Biden’s campaign promise to get the majority of schools open in the first 100 days of his administration was only for in-person learning “at least one day a week” and not full-time, in-person learning.
The science shows us that most disease transmission does not happen in the walls of the school, but it comes in from the community. So, CDC is advocating to get our K-5 students back in school at least in a hybrid mode with universal mask wearing and 6 ft of distancing. https://t.co/dfvJ2nl2s4
— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@CDCDirector) February 14, 2021
Walensky also adjusted her comments to say she was advocating getting “K-5 students back in school at least in a hybrid mode.”