Biden says schools 'should probably all be open' in the fall

President Joe Biden said Friday that K-12 schools "should probably all be open" in the fall for...

Posted: Apr 30, 2021 9:11 AM
Updated: Apr 30, 2021 2:00 PM

President Joe Biden said Friday that K-12 schools 'should probably all be open' in the fall for in-person learning after more than a year of most of the country's kids facing the challenge of remote instruction due to the coronavirus pandemic.

'Based on the science and the (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), they should probably all be open. There's not overwhelming evidence that there's much of a transmission among these people, young people,' Biden told NBC.

Biden has made reopening schools a priority since taking office, but has stressed his administration would follow the guidance of science and medical experts on how to safely reopen. The administration has faced intense criticism from some parents who feel there is not enough urgency in the push to reopen school buildings.

The President's sweeping Covid-19 economic relief law included about $125 billion to public K-12 schools to help students return to the classroom. Schools would be allowed to use the money to reduce class sizes, update their ventilation systems, help implement social distancing, buy personal protective equipment and hire support staff. Another $2.75 billion would go to private schools.

Biden said at a virtual summit on school reopening hosted by the Department of Education last month that $81 billion of that funding would be released immediately. The money is not tied to reopening, which has led to criticism from some Republicans who wanted to use the funds to be a further incentive to reopen.

First lady Jill Biden, who is a community college professor, told NBC she is concerned about the lost learning amid the pandemic.

'I am concerned about ... the lost learning. But I do think we have an opportunity now to make things better. That's one of the reasons I was so excited about the American Rescue Plan, because it has so much money in there for education,' Jill Biden said.

The first lady noted 'each district is different,' and said, 'I think we have to listen to the experts and science, and then the districts have to decide.'

'We're following the science and what the CDC says,' she said.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said Friday that the administration is continuing to push to have schools open this spring.

Cardona told CNN's Ana Cabrera on 'CNN Newsroom' there is 'still some hesitancy' about the safety of reopening schools in communities across the country, 'but we are working really hard to try to make sure that all schools open this spring.'

Cardona said more than 80% of educators have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

'We need to keep pushing hard,' he said. 'Until we get to 100%, there's a lot of work to do.'

Cardona said the administration is focused on providing students with the support that they need when they do return to the classroom.

'We know that some students were hit harder by the pandemic than others. I want to make sure that our systems are ready to meet their academic needs but also their social, emotional needs,' Cardona said. 'That's the focus that we're taking as educators across the country.'

The issue of how and when to get students and teachers back in the classroom has been hotly debated since many schools across the country moved to online learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A complicating factor in reopening schools is that Covid-19 vaccines currently authorized in the United States are only available for adults, except Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine, which is authorized for people ages 16 and older.

But clinical trial results of Pfizer/BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine showed its efficacy is 100% in young people ages 12 to 15 and that group tolerates it well. Pfizer has asked the US Food and Drug Administration to expand the emergency use authorization to include those ages.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky suggested in February that schools could safely reopen without teachers getting vaccinated against Covid-19. The White House initially distanced itself from Walensky's comments, as some teachers unions criticized Walensky's comments, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki later appeared to agree with Walensky and said vaccinations are only part of several mitigating factors that will help schools reopen safely.

The CDC in February released highly anticipated guidelines for reopening schools that focus on mask wearing, physical distancing, washing hands, cleaning facilities and improving ventilation, and contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.

Last month, the CDC also made another recommendation that experts said would allow more schools to open. The CDC relaxed its physical distancing guidelines for children in schools to recommend most students maintain at least three feet of distance, down from six feet.

Reports of low levels of in-school coronavirus transmission helped persuade the CDC to lower its distancing guidelines for many schools from six feet to three feet. Reports from Utah, Missouri and Florida said if students wore masks and followed other mitigation measures to reduce transmission, the six feet of distance didn't matter so much.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
Conecuh110629
Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 50°
Columbus
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 52°
Oxford
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 46°
Starkville
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 45°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for this weekend. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. However, there will be some changes next week in our weahter forecast as low pressure brings back some chances for showers and thunderstorms.
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