Trump pushes for schools to stay open, Big Ten to play football

Trump pushes for schools to stay open, Big Ten to play football
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President Trump doubled down Thursday on his push for schools in the Big Ten conference to play football this season amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. 

“[It’s] crucial for colleges and universities to stay open, we hope that they do indeed stay open,” Trump said at a White House press conference. “We want to see Big Ten football, we hope it's coming back.”

Trump again suggested the conference could go ahead with the season even if several schools in the conference don’t participate, and urged the governors of those states to push for the schools to participate.

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“[I] hope that Michigan agrees, I know the governor will have a lot to say about it, we hope she approves it," he added, referring to Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerCoronavirus lockdowns work Michigan resident puts toilet on front lawn with sign 'Place mail in ballots here' Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election MORE (D).

"We have a couple, Maryland’s another one, we hope the governor puts pressure on so we can have it,” Trump added, referring to Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

“I have a feeling they may do it without everybody,” the president added. “But people are working very, very hard to get Big Ten football back. I’m pushing for it and it'll be a great thing for our country."

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Big Ten school that Trump is pushing to play football this season, announced Wednesday it is shifting to two weeks of remote instruction and quarantining all residents in residence halls due to an increase in positive test results.  

Pennsylvania State, another Big Ten school, also said Wednesday it would be pausing team activities indefinitely for several programs after 48 student-athletes tested positive. 

The president also maintained Thursday that it is “much safer for students to live on campus,” as many schools have reported outbreaks on campuses or sent students home due to outbreaks. 

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“The alternative is no good, going home, spreading the virus to high-risk Americans. They want to be on campus, they want to go back to school and the parents want them back to school, maybe more so than they want to be back in school,” Trump said.

As part of his push for schools to reopen, the president called for children to return to in-person classes, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimated about 0.2 percent of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in people under 25 years of age, claiming that young people are “extremely low risk” for complications from the virus.

“As part of our science-based approach, we want schools to safely open and stay open,” Trump said.

“There's no substitute for in-person learning,” Trump added.

His remarks come as at least six teachers across five states have died from COVID-19 since the fall semester started, according to The Washington Post. Teachers across Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina have died since early August as students return for the school year, though it is unknown whether these teachers became infected at school.