Trump Blocks the CDC From Testifying at School Reopening Hearings
As fall quickly approaches, schools across the country are struggling to figure out how to reopen in the midst an un-contained pandemic. Naturally, state and local governments are turning to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for advice and answers. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who heads the committee, invited CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield to speak before the Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee.
But the Trump administration, continuing its war on information, has barred Redfield from testifying before the Committee on Education and Labor.
— Committee on Education & Labor (@EdLaborCmte) July 17, 2020
Several former heads of the CDC even penned a scathing letter calling out the president for politicizing the pandemic.
Scott released a statement saying, “It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents, and educators, … This lack of transparency does a great disservice to the many communities across the country facing difficult decisions about reopening schools this fall.”
He added, “The administration’s strategy of prioritizing politics over science has had a devastating impact on our country throughout this pandemic. It should not make that same mistake when it comes to reopening schools.”
The CDC had previously released guidelines for reopening schools, which Trump complained were “very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” tweeting of the plan, “They are asking schools to do very impractical things, … I will be meeting with them!!!”
Both Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos threatened to pull federal funding for schools that refuse to open, something which neither of them have the power to do. It’s all a part of Trump’s big plan to ignore the pandemic and force the country to reopen to boost his approval numbers.
Implementing even the bare minimum of the CDC’s guidelines would require an expensive overhaul of our schools. In a previous statement, Scott remarked, “Even before the pandemic, our nation’s public schools were chronically underfunded. Reopening schools now, without more investment, presents serious risks to the health and safety of our students and educators. Just last month, a government watch dog report revealed that over half of school districts needed to significantly repair or completely replace their ventilation systems. This is particularly important given the CDC guidelines explicitly say schools must have adequate ventilation.”
Scott added, “What’s worse, the administration is now threatening to ignore health experts and issue their own ‘less restrictive’ guidelines, prioritizing politics over the health and safety of students, parents, and educators. This move is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous. If the Trump administration wants schools to reopen, it should start by joining House Democrats in supporting the Heroes Act and the Moving Forward Act, which increase investments in state and local funding to help our students, schools, and economy recover.”
Trump is desperate for an easy fix to a very complex problem, and in lieu of that has chosen to pretend the pandemic isn’t happening. It’s a dangerous abdication of responsibility that will only cost more lives and continue to disrupt life as we know it.
(via Politico, image: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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