On Tuesday, President Donald Trump outlined his administration's plan to reopen schools at a White House event.
The event was a "National Dialogue," featuring the President and First Lady Melania Trump.
Watch the event below:
Trump has been adamant that schools be reopened quickly, which is consistent with his administration's aggressive push to restart the economy. Trump has been calling for schools to reopen in the fall for months, and tweeted just last night that "SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!"
SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
School districts across the country closed their doors in March and were forced to pivot to e-learning to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Most chose not to reopen for the remainder of the school year.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued several guidelines for schools that planned to reopen amid the pandemic. In those guidelines, the CDC classified typical full-sized classes without social distancing as "highest risk."
Among the changes recommended by the CDC were:
- Classrooms where desks are spaced as far apart as possible and with all desks facing the same direction
- Staggered arrival and drop-off times and "flexible worksites" to encourage social distancing
- Recommended mask use for all faculty and older students
- Signage encouraging social distancing
- Time off policies to accommodate teachers who may have been exposed to the virus
Last month, National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said he welcomed a conversation about reopening schools, but stopped short of saying it was safe for students to return.
"I hesitate to make any broad statements about whether it is or is not quote 'safe' for kids to come back to school," Fauci told CNN in June. "When you talk about children going back to school and their safety, it really depends on the level of viral activity, and the particular area that you're talking about. What happens all too often, understandably, but sometimes misleadingly, is that we talk about the country as a whole in a unidimensional way."
In that interview with CNN, Fauci noted that most children tend to experience mild or no symptoms when contracting COVID-19.
Many colleges, including Harvard University, have already announced that they do not plan to hold in-person classes this fall and will instead hold courses online. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have said that international students on F-1 or M-1 visas will need to leave the country should their colleges hold classes online.
Trump's address comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spike in several states.