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 DeVosMnuchin, Pompeo mulled plan to remove Trump after Jan. 6: book Republicans look to education as winning issue after Virginia successes McAuliffe rolls out new ad hitting back at Youngkin on education MORE urged schools to "think creatively" when it came to reopening procedures on Thursday, while indicating that she agreed with President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't 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.

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.