President Joe Biden’s school reopening plan calls for “most” schools to have in-person learning “at least” one day a week by Biden’s 100th day in office, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Tuesday.
The president’s plan had previously been unclear as to what “reopening schools” specifically meant. Psaki clarified during a Tuesday press briefing that schools do not need to be in-person full time to be considered “open.” Biden’s plan for K-8 schools calls on Congress to provide $130 billion in funding for schools to increase testing and improve safety guidelines.
Psaki, when asked what Biden’s definition of reopening schools is, given his goal to get the majority of K-8 schools open for in-person learning in his first 100 days:
“That means some teaching in classrooms, so at least one day a week. Hopefully it’s more.” https://t.co/PoS35YHABm
— Lauren Camera (@laurenonthehill) February 9, 2021
WATCH: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is pressed by a reporter to clarify the Biden administration’s stance on reopening schools. pic.twitter.com/YVeft1kRVJ
— The Hill (@thehill) February 6, 2021
Biden’s “national strategy” plan also only mentions reopening K-8 schools and remains silent on a reopening plan for high schools. (RELATED: White House ‘Firmly Committed’ To $15 Minimum Wage After CBO Says It Would Cost 1.4 Million Jobs)
“The president wants to see all kids safely back in school,” a White House spokesperson told the Daily Caller when asked about high schools Jan. 27. “He also understands that reopening is not a light switch. The truth is that remote learning has been particularly difficult for younger children. Further, if younger children safely resume in-person learning, it will greatly alleviate parents’ child care challenges and could potentially boost our economy by getting more parents back into the workforce. So we are going to prioritize getting K-8 schools safely reopened as quickly as we can, with a continued goal of getting all kids back to school.”
While several barriers to reopening remain, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that vaccinating teachers is not a “prerequisite” for reopening schools. The White House walked back that statement hours after she made it, saying it had not been “official guidance.” Teachers unions across the country have been pushing hard for vaccinating teachers before reopening.
“Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools,” @CDCDirector Walensky said during White House briefing this morning. https://t.co/eZgOnkP6hF
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 3, 2021
“I want to be clear that there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely,” Walensky had said. “Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite of safe reopening of schools.”