Biden’s Team Reached Out To Teachers’ Union Before He Took Office To Coordinate Reopening, Top Official Testifies

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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President Joe Biden’s transition team reached out to the second largest teachers union in the U.S. prior to taking office to coordinate school reopenings, a top union official testified on Wednesday.

Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup asked American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten what the consultation between the union and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked like regarding the health agency’s guidance for opening schools, during a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearing. Weingarten answered saying that the union was in communication with the Biden transition team, who had approached AFT prior to taking office. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Demand Answers From Biden Admin About Coordinating Reopening Guidance With Teachers Unions)

“Since you did consult [with the CDC], what did that consultation look like? Did the AFT first engage with the CDC or did the CDC reach out to you?” Wenstrup asked Weingarten.

“What essentially happened sir was that we were talking to the Biden transition team before he was sworn into office.”

Weingarten, the AFT and the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers union, worked with the CDC to coordinate and draft reopening guidance for schools in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to emails obtained by Americans for Public Trust. Following the CDC’s announcement that it was safe for students to return to in-person learning, the AFT touted the guidance as “reckless and unsafe.”

“Did [the Biden transition team] reach out to you?” Wenstrup asked Weingarten.

“The Biden transition team reached out to us,” Weingarten said during the hearing.

Weingarten, noting that her memory might not be the best at 65-years-old, continued that a conference call was set up between the CDC and AFT in January 2020 shortly after Biden had taken office. During that meeting, Weingarten said she spoke directly with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky over zoom.

In 2020, Weingarten criticized Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to reopen schools, saying his “ignorance” will cause “millions of Floridians” to die. The AFT backed a lawsuit filed by a Florida teachers union in July 2020 against DeSantis’ move to reopen the state’s schools, according to a press release.

The White House and the CDC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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