WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — President Joe Biden wants schools to reopen within 100 days but his own health officials say that goal may not be realistic.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden “does rely on the guidance of his health and medical experts and he’s not going to do anything that is not safe and doesn’t keep teachers, students and our school districts safe.”
Health officials like CDC Director Rochelle Walensky say reopening schools should be a higher priority than bars or restaurants.
“CDC continues to recommend that K-12 schools be the last settings to close after all other mitigation methods have been deployed, and the first to reopen when they can do so safely,” Walensky said.
The White House is pushing hard for Congress to pass President Biden’s COVID-19 relief legislation to give schools more funding to reopen and stay open.
“School settings do not result in rapid spread of COVID-19 when mitigation measures are followed,” Walensky said, “including masking, decreasing density and proper ventilation.”
Not all schools have the space or the money to implement those measures, Walensky said, which is part of the reason Biden said Congress needs to pass his relief package.
“The cost of inaction is high,” Biden said. “And it’s growing every day.”