Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky changed her standards for school re-opening policies after entering the Biden Administration.
Walensky told Newton, Massachusetts officials in July 2020 that “if people are masked it is quite safe and much more practical to be at 3 feet” distance within classrooms. At that time, she was serving as Professor of Medicine and Chief of Infectious Disease at Harvard University, National Review’s Jim Geraghty noted. However, in a Feb. 12 CDC conference call with reporters, Walensky claimed that “schools should require physical distancing of at least six feet.”
So in July, Walensky told her own school district, in writing, if people are masked it is quite safe and much more practical to be at 3 feet for the middle/high schools and even late grade schools.
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) February 15, 2021
The new CDC guidelines for reopening schools were produced after listening sessions with “education and public-health partners,” Walensky revealed during the call. “Direct changes to the guidelines were made as a result of” those listening sessions. (RELATED: 66 GOP Congressmen Accuse Biden Of Ignoring Science On Reopening Schools)
Walensky was tapped by President Joe Biden’s transition team to lead the CDC on Dec. 7. The CDC Director does not require Senate confirmation.
Walensky’s recommendations have at times appeared at odds with the political preferences of the Biden Administration. She told reporters at a Feb. 3 press briefing that low levels of teacher vaccinations would not be an impediment to schools opening nationwide. However, Press Secretary Jen Psaki backtracked on those comments later that day, telling reporters that Walensky was only speaking in her personal capacity.
The official guidelines do not require teacher vaccination as a precondition for re-opening schools, Walensky emphasized during the conference call.