Vice President Kamala Harris clarified the White House’s position on schools reopening without teacher vaccinations as Dr. Anthony Fauci had recommended, providing her comments in an interview Wednesday morning on the Today show.
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“Can you reassure teachers, who are listening right now, that it is safe to go back to school even if they are not vaccinated?” Savannah Guthrie asked Harris.
“Let me say this, and the president has said it, and we’re all really clear: Teachers should be a priority,” Kamala responded.
Guthrie pressed further, “But if they [teachers] are not vaccinated, is it safe for them?”
“Well, I think that we have to decide if we can put in place safe measures,” Harris said.
But those “safe” measures, supported by the teachers’ unions, have driven the Biden administration to shift its original goal of reopening schools five days a week to a new goal of schools only reopening one day a week.
When Biden was pressed on this contradiction Tuesday night at a CNN town hall event, he said, “It was a mistake in the communication.”
President Biden says it was a “mistake in communication” to say his goal of reopening schools meant at least one day a week. He said he thinks a majority of K-8 schools will be open “at the end of the first 100 days.” Implies summer school could become a thing.
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After these unfolding events, Fauci on Wednesday morning expressed support for teachers getting bumped up on the priority list for a shot but said their vaccinations should not be a blanket prerequisite for schools reopening.
“I think if you are going to say that every single teacher needs to be vaccinated before you get back to school, I believe quite frankly … that that’s a non-workable situation,” he said. “I think teachers should absolutely be priority among those who we consider essential personnel, and you should try and get as many teachers as you possibly can vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can.”
“You want to put a good effort to get as many as you can as quickly as you can, but you don’t want to essentially have nobody in school until all the teachers get vaccinated.”
President Biden says #COVID19 vaccines will be available for all Americans by the end of July.@POTUS‘ Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci joins us to talk more about the president’s vaccination timeline and reopening schools. pic.twitter.com/OSPLqPUKxI
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 17, 2021