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Education Secretary warns officials: ‘Don’t be the reason why schools are interrupted’

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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Sunday warned officials nationwide not to “be the reason why schools are interrupted,” as education workers prepare to bring students back to the classroom in the fall amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We want our youth to get vaccinated. Listen, and to those who are making policies that are preventing this, don’t be the reason why schools are interrupted, why children can’t go to extracurricular activities, why games are canceled,” Cardona told host John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Cardona did not give a direct response when asked if teachers working in school should be required to get vaccinated, but he did say he feels “strongly” that those eligible to get inoculated should receive their shots.

“I feel strongly that if you’re eligible to get vaccinated, get vaccinated, do your part to make sure that we’re all safe and that we can reopen schools without interruptions,” Cardona said.

“Our students have suffered enough. It’s time for all of us to do our part to keep our students and staff safe. Students need to be in the classrooms. That’s where they learn best,” he added.

He said he will be joining second gentleman Doug Emhoff on a trip to Kansas on Monday to promote vaccine efforts underway there for educators.

When asked how helpful it is that Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, suggested that teachers should get inoculated, Cardona said it was “helpful.”

“And quite frankly, I think we recognize as educators across the country that we’re going to get farther if we work together and that’s what we’re seeing across the country,” Cardona said.

“Educators who have bent over backwards for our students this last year are coming together to say, let’s do our part. We know they, they are lining up to get vaccinated. Ninety percent of the teachers across the country have gotten vaccinated. We’re proud of that. We want to keep the efforts going,” he added.

The conversation comes as school administrators and health officials are preparing for the fall semester, when students are scheduled to return to classrooms amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.

The number of new cases per day dropped at one point this summer, but spiked last month as the highly infectious delta variant became the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Officials are now grappling with how to safely bring students back to classrooms after a year and a half marked by virtual instruction.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) last month recommended that students older than two years old should wear masks in schools in the fall, regardless of their vaccination status.

Tags Doug Emhoff Miguel Cardona
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