United States President Donald Trump said Monday that states should “seriously consider” reopening public schools before the end of the school year, even though dozens have already said having students back before summer or fall would not be safe.
Trump made his comments in a call with governors in which he talked about how to revive their economies, among other issues.
“Some of you may start thinking about opening schools, because many people are going to want to open schools. It is not an important issue, young children have coped very well in this disaster we have all been through, “he said. Addressing Vice President Mike Pence, he added that it was an issue “that you can seriously consider, and maybe start doing.”RELATED
None of the governors on the call responded to the suggestion, according to a recording accessed by The Associated Press.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was working to complete guidelines to revive the economy. For schools, that included placing student tables two meters (6 feet) apart, serving meals in the classroom in the cafeteria area, and closing the playgrounds.
Reopening schools is seen as a key measure to revive the economy. Without a safe place to leave their children, many parents will find it difficult to return to work.
However, some education officials pointed out that reopening the centers so quickly would carry a great risk with few benefits, especially given the proximity of the end of the course.
“Are they going to reopen for two weeks? Three weeks? ”Asked Daniel Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators. “It is not right. Especially when it involves the safety and well-being of our students. “
Schools across the country closed during the pandemic, and dozens of states have mandated that they remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Only a few have spoken publicly about opening before, like Montana, which will allow school districts to resume face-to-face classes on May 7.
If schools reopen too quickly and end up spreading the coronavirus, the centers could incur legal responsibilities, said Francisco Negrón, legal director of the National Association of School Boards. And while COVID-19 cases have been mild among American children, many schools have students with health problems that make them vulnerable, he said.
Domenech of the Association of School Administrators noted that CDC’s draft recommendation poses considerable logistical complications. Trying to keep the smallest students two meters apart might be impossible, he noted, and many schools have so many students that they would violate the proposed limits to crowds.
Still, schools study how to limit student interaction, for example by having not all students attend at once, perhaps with morning and afternoon shifts. While at home, they could continue to take classes online, Domenech said.
“Everyone wants to have the boys back,” he said. “We understand the impact this has on the economy. There are working parents who need their children to be safe and in a school environment in order to return to work. Sooner or later, schools will have to reopen. The question is how. “