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DeVos urges school districts to 'think creatively' about reopening amid coronavirus

DeVos urges school districts to 'think creatively' about reopening amid coronavirus
© Greg Nash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Education Department moves to reverse Trump-era rules on campus sexual misconduct Watchdog says DeVos made nine figures in outside income during Trump years MORE urged schools to "think creatively" when it came to reopening procedures on Thursday, while indicating that she agreed with President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE's threat to redirect the department's funding from schools that do not reopen in the fall.

In an interview with Fox News, DeVos said that the administration's "posture" was behind schools fully reopening in the fall, while allowing provisions for some to offer remote learning if local flare-ups of the coronavirus occur. The burden of determining how individual schools would operate, DeVos said, would fall on local officials and school leaders.

"This doesn't have to look like exactly like it did a year or two ago. Think creatively about how you do it, but do it," she said.

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"This has to happen," she added.

DeVos's remarks come as the administration has pushed forward with plans for the nation's schools to reopen for in-person learning in the fall, with President Trump writing on Twitter that schools which refused to do so could lose funding.

"The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!" he tweeted Wednesday.

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On Tuesday, DeVos told the nation's governors on a conference call that schools must reopen and must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders."

She has also reportedly rejected plans from some local leaders for hybrid school semesters, including plans for students in some districts to only physically attend school a few days per week.

“A choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all,” DeVos said on the call, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. has largely failed to blunt its rising trend of new coronavirus infections, and has reported more than 3 million confirmed cases of the disease — more than any other country. States moved to close schools in response to the virus hitting U.S. shores in the spring, forcing U.S. students into remote learning environments for the remainder of spring semester.