As the nation debates on whether to reopen schools this fall, President Donald Trump said schools should “100%” be open this fall, despite concerns from educator unions and others over the spread of the coronavirus.
During his coronavirus news conference on Wednesday, Trump was asked whether he planned on sending his son and grandchildren back to school this fall.
“Yes, I am comfortable with that,” Trump said.
“I would like to see the schools open. Open 100% and we will do it safely, we will do carefully but when you look at the statistics -- I just read having to do with children and safety ---- they are very impressive. They have very strong immune systems,” Trump added.
Trump said that it is his belief that children are less likely to spread the virus. But research thus far has not been conclusive to back Trump’s claims.
A study released from South Korea and published by the CDC found that while children under age 9 were less likely to spread the virus, youth ages 10 through 19 were just as likely as adults of spreading the virus.
The study also found that closing schools in several Chinese cities, including Wuhan, showed that school closure and social distancing significantly reduced the rate of COVID-19 among contacts of school-aged children.
“The role of household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 amid reopening of schools and loosening of social distancing underscores the need for a time-sensitive epidemiologic study to guide public health policy,” the researchers wrote.
The American Federation of Teachers this week pointed toward a three-point plan that the US should implement for reopening schools.
“Our plan details three conditions essential for schools to reopen,” wrote Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “First, the average daily community infection rate among those tested for the coronavirus must be very low. (New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has required the rate not to exceed 5 percent for at least 14 days.) Second, schools must employ public health protocols, including 6-feet social distancing, masks, deep cleaning and handwashing stations. Third, adequate resources must be available to enact these safeguards, including funding for additional nurses, guidance counselors and teachers to reduce class size.”
Weingarten said that Trump has politicized reopening schools, and she called on Congress to approve giving schools additional funding to reopen. Weingarten projects that it would take $116 billion nationwide to provide essential services for schools.
"Expenses have increased because of the fight against coronavirus," she said. "They not only need funds to provide essential services, the average school will need an additional $1.2 million, or $2,300 per student, to open its doors safely."