Education Secretary Betsy DeVos declined to say whether schools should adhere to CDC guidelines as President Trump demands that they reopen amid surging cases of the coronavirus across the country.
Last week, the President said that the White House is “very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open, and it’s very important.” Vice President Mike Pence also seemed to endorse Trump’s threat during a press briefing by hinting at using the federal budget to give states a “strong incentive” to reopen schools. When pressed repeatedly on what authority the President has to reopen schools, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dodged the question during a briefing by saying that Trump “wants them to reopen altogether.”
However, CDC Director Robert Redfield denied that the agency’s guidelines regarding schools reopening in the fall would not be altered despite the President’s complaints against them, which include being “very tough, expensive and impractical.”
When asked during an interview on CNN Sunday morning about whether schools should follow CDC guidelines as they reopen — given how the agency has internally warned that the full reopening of K-12 schools would be the “highest risk” for COVID-19 spread — DeVos repeated the Trump administration’s argument that Redfield “has clearly said these are recommendations.”
“Every situation is going to look slightly different,” DeVos said.
DeVos then added that education leaders are “smart people who can figure things out.”
“They can figure out what is going to be right for their specific situation,” DeVos said.
DeVos went on to repeatedly decline providing a straightforward answer on whether schools should follow CDC guidance as they reopen, before insisting that schools need to heed to Trump’s demand.
“Well, I know for a fact that there are many schools that have been working hard to put together their plans for moving ahead,” DeVos said. We want to see every school district, every state doing the same thing to say not what we can’t do, but what we’re going to do and what we can do. We’re a country of action, we’re a country of doers.”
Watch DeVos’ remarks below:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos won't say whether schools should follow CDC guidance as they reopen pic.twitter.com/VjkRxcFich
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) July 12, 2020