Biden rolls out school reopening plan amid coronavirus pandemic
Former Vice President Joe Biden rolled out his plan to safely reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic on Friday as the debate over the issue rages across the country.
“If I’m elected president, our students and educators are going to have all the tools and resources they need to succeed, to get us through COVID-19, to build the strong, resilient schools we need so that every child has a chance to succeed in the 21st century,” Biden said in a video announcing his blueprint.
Biden’s plan states that in order for schools to reopen, the virus must be under control in the U.S. The campaign said that this involves an increase in nationwide testing and contact tracing as well as a stable supply chain to ensure the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). Additionally, Biden said that older and high-risk individuals should be protected and small businesses should be provided with the resources to open safely.
The campaign’s blueprint also calls for national safety guidelines that states and localities can follow during the reopening process. Biden said under his administration, emergency funding would be provided to public schools and child care providers.
The plan also takes virtual learning into consideration, calling on the Department of Education to assist students with disabilities or a lack of remote learning resources. The campaign said a Biden administration would also address the “COVID-19 education equity gap,” through working with health, education and community experts on the issue.
The development comes as President Trump faces nationwide backlash from Democrats, health professionals and education leaders on pushing ahead with reopening schools by the fall. The president referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) school reopening guidelines as “very tough & expensive” earlier this month and threatened to withhold funding from schools that delay reopening.
CDC Director Robert Redfield said Thursday that “having the schools actually closed is a greater public health threat to the children than having the schools reopen.”
However, a number of school districts have moved ahead with delayed reopening, despite pressure from the administration. Los Angeles and San Diego announced Monday the upcoming school year will start online.
A Politico-Morning Consult survey released on Wednesday found that 53 percent of voters are somewhat or strongly opposed to reopening day cares or K-12 schools in the fall, and 50 percent oppose opening universities and colleges.
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