President Joe Biden says it was a “mistake in communication” when White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that schools would be considered “open” if they held in-person classes one day per week Feb. 9.
Psaki said at the time that the Biden administration’s goal was to have “most” K-8 schools “open” within the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency, but clarified when pressed that schools could hold just one day of in-person classes a week. Psaki later walked the statement back and said five days per week is the goal, and Biden himself rejected the one day per week plan during his CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tuesday. (RELATED: Parents’ Lawyers Warn Teachers’ Union That Legal Action Will Follow If They Participate In Another ‘Union-Organized Sick-Out’)
Cooper referenced Psaki’s one day per week statement in his preface to a question on school reopening, leading Biden to interject.
“No that’s not true. That’s what was reported,” Biden said. “There was a mistake in the communication. What I’m talking about is I said opening the majority of schools in K through 8th grade because they’re the easiest to open and the most needed to be open.”
“The goal will be five days a week. Now it’s going to be harder to open up the high schools,” he added.
Joe Biden is asked about his administration originally setting a goal of schools being open five days a week, which changed to a goal of schools being opened at least one day a week:
“It was a mistake in the communication.” pic.twitter.com/M6mffuzsXf
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 17, 2021
The Biden administration’s goals on reopening schools have appeared to be in constant flux since his inauguration.
Biden promised prior to taking office to reopen “most” of America’s schools within his first 100 days in office, but the plan he introduced soon after being sworn in only applied to K-8 schools.
Then Biden’s CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said Feb. 3 that vaccinating teachers need not be a “prerequisite” to reopening schools. Teachers’ unions across the country have demanded that their members be vaccinated before consenting to in-person schooling. Psaki walked back Walenksy’s statement hours after she made it, however.
The CDC’s official guidance on school reopening emphasized measures like mask wearing and social distancing over vaccinating teachers and students, however. Biden nevertheless said during the CNN townhall that teachers should be prioritized for vaccinations.