By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated July 9, 2020
With over 3 million active COVID-19 cases across the United States, president Donald Trump is bullying public schools to fully reopen. He has threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that do not comply.
Trump took to Twitter to make his point saying that schools in Germany, Demark, Norway, Sweden and other countries are open. “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if US schools open before the November Election, but it is important for the children and families. May cut off funding if not open,” he said.
This is part of his administration’s efforts to convince schools across the country that risks of not reopening for in-person classes outweigh those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The White House is also looking at ways to use the next coronavirus relief bill to tie the slice of school funding that comes from Washington. However, a big portion of school funding in the US comes from states and municipalities and not from the federal government.
The vice president Mike Pence confirmed that the Trump administration is looking to the upcoming Phase 4 coronavirus relief bill as a ‘potential way’ to exert leverage over schools. He said they will be looking at ways to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back in school.
Trump has also lashed out at the CDC for its tough and expensive guidelines. Pence said the CDC has been directed to give new guidelines on preparing communities for school reopenings as welll as decision making tools for parents and caregivers. This includes symptom screening considerations for students and teachers.
Reopening of schools is one of the key components of helping the US economy get back on track. Over 50 million children attend school in teh United States, and the abrupt closure of schools and daycare centers in March and April forced millions of parents to become teacher overnight. Furthermore, the pandemic brought about record breaking job losses.