NEA president says Azar and DeVos should resign over school reopening guidance

NEA president says Azar and DeVos should resign over school reopening guidance
© Getty Images

The National Education Association (NEA) President Becky Pringle on Friday called for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and Secretary of Education 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 to resign over federal reopening guidance for schools amid the coronavirus.

The letter, written Friday, called on the two Trump administration officials "in reaction to New York Times reporting that political appointees overruled career scientists in issuing school reopening guidance." 

"Donald Trump's disregard for science has already cost 200,000 American lives during this pandemic. Secretaries Alex Azar and Betsy DeVos are accomplices in this malicious incompetence," Pringle wrote.


"It is appalling that they have risked the lives of students and educators in running roughshod over the CDC’s apolitical process for providing vital health guidance to the American people," she continued, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The New York Times reported Thursday that CDC scientists did not write a guidance that said people without symptoms do not need to be tested for the coronavirus.

Rather, officials from HHS rewrote the guidance and "dropped" it into a post on the CDC's website. 

The scientists had "serious objections" to the guidance, sources told the newspaper. 

At the time, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, the administration's coronavirus testing czar, called it a "CDC action", adding that while there was deliberation over the revisions, it was written with input from agency director Robert Redfield.

Pringle said that leaders across the country relied on this guidance, and now COVID-19 has spread in schools. 


"State and local leaders relied on this guidance when they decided to reopen school buildings that are now becoming super spread sites. How many students and educators will we lose to COVID-19 before this administration prioritizes science over partisan politics?," Pringle wrote. 

The letter from the prominent union comes after President TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban MORE repeatedly advocated for states to reopen schools for in-person learning. While children are at low risk for experiencing severe effects and death from coronavirus, they can serve as carriers of the disease, a fact that could impact older, at-risk adults in their lives. 

At the end of the letter, Pringle called yet again for Azar and DeVos to resign. 

"If Azar and DeVos have any moral fortitude, they should resign immediately. Voters will hold Trump accountable," Pringle said.