Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools within the first 100 days of his presidency “may not happen.”
“The president is taking very seriously the issue both from the students’ standpoint and from the teachers’ standpoint,” Fauci said during a virtual meeting with the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teacher’s union in the United States, and the National Education Association. “And he really wants to, and believes, that the schools need to reopen in the next 100 days, essentially all K-8 schools within 100 days.”
“That’s the goal,” he continued. “That may not happen. Because there may be mitigating circumstances. But what he really wants to do is everything within his power to help get to that.”
Biden promised during his campaign to reopen schools within the first 100 days of his presidency. Teachers unions have pushed to keep schools closed, arguing that it’s unsafe for educators to return until they are vaccinated – despite some evidence suggesting that schools are safe to reopen because they do not significantly contribute to the spread of coronavirus. (RELATED: CDC Officials Urge School Re-Openings In Journal Article)
The president’s “national strategy” for reopening schools prioritizes K-8 students and does not lay out a plan to open high schools. A White House spokesperson told the Daily Caller that younger children were prioritized because returning to in-person learning would help ease the burden of child care on families and allow parents to return to the workforce, and that “remote learning has been particularly difficult for younger children.” Included in the national strategy is $130 billion in funding to improve safety and increase testing in schools.