CNN host Brianna Keilar blasted the Biden administration on Friday for its “confusing” policy concerning the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On her broadcast of “CNN Newsroom” Keilar began the discussion by playing two video clips of the Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Rochelle Walensky and White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying conflicting things when talking about whether teachers needed to get the coronavirus vaccine as a component of reopening schools.
“I also want to be clear that there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen, and that, that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely,” Walensky said in the first clip.
“The president, let me be crystal clear, wants schools to open. He wants them to stay open. And that is, and he wants to do that safely, and he wants health and medical experts to be the guides for how we should do exactly that,” Psaki said in the second clip. “We’re just not — Dr. Walensky spoke to this in her personal capacity. Obviously she’s the head of the CDC, but we’re going to wait for the final guidance to come out so we can use that as a guide for schools around the country.”
Keilar pointed out that Walensky wasn’t speaking “in her personal capacity” when talking about schools reopening without teachers needing to get the vaccine, but rather in her capacity as the Director of the CDC at an official briefing. She then stated that this “is why this is all very confusing for Americans, why it’s confusing for parents and teachers, and certainly kids if they’re paying attention.” (RELATED: Coronavirus Lockdowns Are Forcing Students To Miss Time In School. Here’s How It Could Impact Their Future)
President Joe Biden has made reopening K-8 schools one of his top priorities for his first 100 days in office. His plan calls on Congress to provide $130 billion to help schools reopen with improved safety guidelines. This $130 billion has been included in Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion relief package currently being negotiated in Congress.
Keilar turned to CNN analyst Dana Bash and mentioned that a CNN reporter asked Walensky on Friday, “if its official policy that teachers do not need to be vaccinated before schools reopen” but said that Walensky didn’t answer, instead saying that official guidance would be released soon. “Why can she say to teachers there’s this increasing evidence that teachers don’t need to be vaccinated for a safe reopening Thursday, but then not today?” Keilar asked.
“It’s confusing. And my guess is that behind the scenes at the CDC, they’re working even faster than they were before to come out with those guidelines to clarify it,” Bash responded. “We know that from all of the studies … that it is safer than people expected for the kids to be in school. But we also know that teachers are, in many cases, very understandably hesitant to go back to school, especially in schools that are crowded, that don’t have good ventilation, and so on and so forth. And so, you know, squaring that circle is very difficult.”