As businesses reopen and people return to their places of employment, our children too need to return to school.
The Trump Administration is committed to safely reopening schools in the fall to ensure teachers and students have the ability to get back to the classroom.
President Trump is working closely with state and local leaders and listening to the needs of school administrators to prepare a safe plan of return.
This week, the White House held a day long summit on the physical and mental implications of keeping students out of school. Advocates from diverse backgrounds provided information on the unique circumstance COVID-19 has put on our education system.
The Trump Administration is putting the wellbeing of students first and recognizes that schools are essential.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said, “all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
Receiving an education from home isn’t the best choice for all students, particularly those in underserved communities. Students with limited access to broadband and other vital resources don’t have the option to distance learn.
Many students rely on the services they receive at school because they don’t have them at home, making America’s schools a fundamental part of a child’s development.
Through research, we know school closures disproportionately affect the most vulnerable students. Being out of school increases disparities in academic growth and economic potential.
Extended periods of time when students are away from school prevents us from being able to best serve their educational needs, social development, and nutritional health.
In school, teachers are able to better assess a child’s learning progress and address any deficits. Schools are also a place where educators and faculty can identify and report instances of abuse at home, mental or physical health concerns, or substance use.
In responding to these needs, the Trump Administration has:
- Made more than $13 billion available to support K-12 students enrolled in public, charter, and private schools affected by COVID-19
- Given affected school districts access to the $150 billion in the Treasury Department’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
- And provided flexibility for school breakfast and lunch programs to help children safely access nutritious meals throughout the academic year.
In an opinion piece, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged Congress to take action and called for agencies to better identify the virus transmission rate among children.
HHS should also quickly share information about the risks to children with underlying health conditions, and what transmission risks children pose to teachers and adults at home. Additionally, Congress should work with states and the administration to ensure access to testing, including pooled testing and antibody testing, for students, teachers, and staff.
These suggestions paired with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) create a pathway to returning to class.
We know from data in a recent CDC report there have been 12 pediatric COVID-19 deaths, compared to 174 pediatric flu deaths this season.
Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the CDC, stated this week, “It’s clear that the greater risk to our society is to have these schools close.”
The risks posed by students being out of school outweigh the risks of COVID-19 according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The choice remains with the parent and student to return to school, but teachers and administrators need to open the classroom and present a safe option.
President Trump, Secretary DeVos, and others have clearly indicated they are ready to support schools where needed and ensure all students have a safe pathway to education.