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CDC to issue new guidelines on reopening schools after Trump blowup

Enlarge / Schoolchildren wearing protective mouth masks and face shields attend a course in their classroom at Claude Debussy college in Angers, western France, on May 18, 2020, after France eased lockdown measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus.Damien Meyer / AFP / Getty Images

On the heels of criticism from President Trump, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to release updated guidance documents outlining how schools can safely reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence announced the upcoming documents Wednesday, just hours after Trump took to Twitter to blast the agencys current guidelines.

“Well, the president said today, we just dont want the guidance to be too tough,” Pence said in a press briefing for the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “Thats the reason why next week, the CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”

In tweets, Trump said he disagreed with the CDCs guidelines, calling them “very tough & expensive.” He also threatened to cut funding to schools that refused to open before the November election.

However, as NPR notes, schools on average receive 10 percent or less of their funding from the federal government, and those funds are typically aimed at supporting children with disabilities and those from low-income households. Further, Pence clarified during the press briefing that the White House would be "very respectful" if "certain limitations” prevent some school districts from reopening.

Confusion

Its unclear which CDC guidelines or recommendations the president was criticizing. However, existing documents recommend that administrators consider closing schools for extended periods of time if there is “substantial community transmission” of COVID-19—which there currently is in many parts of the country.

In todays press briefing, Pence emphasized that the agencys guidelines should be tailored for each area and should not replace local or state rules or guidance. CDC Director Robert Redfield appeared alongside Pence and noted that the CDCs recommendations were not intended to be used “as a rationale to keep schools closed.”

The Trump administration is not alone in urging schools to reopen. On June 26, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its interim guidance, saying that it “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” The organization noted that schools provide fundamental roles in “academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, nutrition, physical activity, and mental health therapy.” As such, it argued that the benRead More – Source

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