The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could as soon as Wednesday lay out the requirements for schools to reopen, President Biden said in an interview that aired Sunday.
Biden told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell in an interview that aired in part before the Super Bowl that he believed “it’s time for schools to reopen safely,” after calling it a “national emergency” that about 20 million American children have not been in a classroom for almost a year.
“You have to have fewer people in the classroom,” he said. “You have to have ventilation systems that have been reworked. Our CDC commissioner is gonna be coming out with science-based judgement within I think as early as Wednesday as to lay out what the minimum requirements are.”
When O’Donnell said it is “so hard with kids not being able to play sports now,” the president responded, “It really is.”
“I think about the price so many of my grandkids and your kids are gonna pay for not having had the chance to finish whatever it was,” he said. “That graduation where you didn’t get to walk across the stage. I think they’re going through a lot, these kids.”
“I think it’s time for schools to reopen safely,” Pres. Biden tells @NorahODonnell.— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 7, 2021
In addition to smaller class sizes and reworked ventilation, Pres. Biden says CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Overnight Health Care — Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 Walensky says she will improve CDC messaging amid criticism MORE is going to lay out the minimum requirements for reopening as early as Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/62VDKoNuNH
Schools across the country are weighing whether to reopen to in-person instruction, which is widely considered more effective for learning, or to keep learning remote as the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S.
Biden had vowed to reopen schools within his first 100 days as president, but that goal could face obstacles as new COVID-19 strains believed to be more contagious circulate across the country.
Teachers unions and school districts have disagreed whether current plans are safe for children and staff to return to in-person learning, particularly in Chicago and Minneapolis, with some pushing for stronger vaccination plans.
CDC Director Rochelle Welensky said last week that vaccinating teachers is "not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.
The U.S. is nearing 27 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and has reached more than 463,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.