Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Thursday that K-12 schools should remain open, as they are “one of the safest place” children can be during the CCP virus pandemic.
“Today, there’s extensive data that we have—we have gathered over the last two to three months—to confirm that K-through- 12 schools can operate with face-to-face learning and they can do it safely and they can do it responsibly,” Redfield, a leading member of Trump administration’s pandemic task force, said during a White House press conference. “The infections we’ve identified in schools, when they have been evaluated, were not acquired in schools. They were actually acquired in the community and the household.”
The latest CDC report released in October did not find a link between school reopening in the fall and the increase in CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus infections, nor did it indicate where or how the children became infected.
“The truth is, for kids K-12, one of the safest places they can be, from our perspective, is to remain in school, and it’s really important that following the data, making sure we don’t make emotional decisions about what to close and what not to close,” Redfield continued. “I’m here to say clearly the data strongly supports that K-12 schools—as well as institutes of higher learning—really are not where we’re having our challenges.”
Students return to school at Seminole Heights Elementary School on August 31, 2020 in Tampa, Fla. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
Redfield was joined by Elinore F. McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse. McCance-Katz said keeping schools open is crucial for the social and emotional wellbeing of American children.
“We must find a way to alleviate that stress without ignoring the fact that our nation faces the very real and deadly virus,” said McCance-Katz. “The work of schools and the school personnel do daily is valuable beyond any words I can deliver. In addition to education, schools provide their children a profound sense of security and stability for the structure and safety of schools are an integral role of health.”
The experts’ comments come as some of the nation’s major school districts send students home for online classes due to the rise in CCP virus infections in recent weeks.
In New York City, public schools switched to all-remote learning Thursday after the citywide infection rate hit the 3 percent threshold established by the de Blasio administration.
“So many parents right now are saddened and frustrated their kids can’t go to school tomorrow,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday. “So many kids want to be in school. So many educators want to be there to greet them. But now we put ourselves to the work of overcoming this challenge.”