Local Officials Aren’t Itching To Reopen Schools Even After Trump’s Threat To Do So

ANNAPOLIS, MD - MAY 13: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan holds a press conference announcing Stage One of the Maryland roadmap to Recovery in the Governor's Reception Room.(Photo by Jonathsn Newton/The Washington Post)
ANNAPOLIS, MD - MAY 13: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan holds a press conference announcing Stage One of the Maryland roadmap to Recovery in the Governor's Reception Room. (Photo by Jonathsn Newton/The Washington Pos... ANNAPOLIS, MD - MAY 13: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan holds a press conference announcing Stage One of the Maryland roadmap to Recovery in the Governor's Reception Room. (Photo by Jonathsn Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 12, 2020 5:49 p.m.
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Local officials on Sunday expressed that they have hesitations regarding the reopening of schools as coronavirus cases continue surging throughout the country.

Last week, President Trump warned that the White House is “very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.” Vice President Mike Pence also seemed to endorse Trump’s threat during a press briefing by floating the idea of using federal funds to give states a “strong incentive” to reopen schools. Although she failed to answer questions on what authority the President has to reopen schools, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany repeatedly insisted that Trump “wants them to reopen altogether.”

On Sunday morning, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos bolstered Trump’s demand for schools to reopen during an interview on CNN even as she repeatedly dodged questions on whether schools should follow CDC guidance as they reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, local officials such as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego and Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez didn’t appear to be on board with the Trump administration’s demand for schools to reopen when pressed on the issue on Sunday morning.

Here’s how they weighed in:

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)

When asked during an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” about whether he would open schools up five days a week in person if he wanted to, Hogan said that although “everybody would like to get our kids back to school” as quickly as possible, Maryland is “not going to be rushed into this.”

Hogan went on to say that the state will come up with a “hybrid” plan for school that involves how to “provide the best education we can for our kids and do it in a safe way.”

Watch Hogan’s remarks below:

Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego

In light of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) pushing back school reopenings in the Phoenix area, Gallego was asked during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” about whether there is any way schools can reopen given the surge of coronavirus cases in the state.

Gallego responded that elected school leaders say we that districts cannot open until at least October due to “the levels of the virus so pronounced in our community.”

“They just don’t feel like it’s a safe environment for teachers to go in, and they’re concerned about our students, as well as spread of the virus,” Gallego said. “I hope they’ll be full financial support for those school districts, including digital programming.”

Later Sunday, reports broke that a teacher in Arizona died from COVID-19 after she contracted the coronavirus last month. The teacher had shared a classroom with two other teachers who continue to struggle with coronavirus-related symptoms.

Watch Gallego’s remarks below:

Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez

When asked during an interview on CNN about whether the Miami-Dade school district should heed to Trump and DeVos’ call to fully reopen schools, Gimenez pointed out that “we’re a hot spot” and that there’s no way of knowing “what this virus is going to look like six weeks from now” when the school system typically begins.

“It really all depends on the positivity rate and the state of the virus in six weeks. Whether it’s in room or in classroom setting or it’s some other kind of learning, it’s all going to be guided by our science,” Gimenez said. “And it’s all going to be guided by our number one priority is keeping our kids safe.”

Florida reported later Sunday that it had shattered the country’s daily record for coronavirus cases by hitting over 15,000 cases in a single day.

Watch Gimenez’s remarks below:

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