In its push to fully reopen schools this fall, the Trump administration has repeatedly pointed to steering from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which emphasizes the advantages of in-person education.
Dr. Sally Goza, the group’s president, was additionally a part of a White House event on reopening faculties earlier this week. Now, although, the group is distancing itself from the Trump administration in a joint statement with three public faculty teams.
“Returning to school is important for the healthy development and well-being of children, but we must pursue re-opening in a way that is safe for all students, teachers and staff,” reads the assertion, additionally signed by the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, and AASA, the nationwide superintendents affiliation. “Science should drive decision-making on safely reopening schools.”
“Schools in areas with high levels of COVID-19 community spread should not be compelled to reopen against the judgment of local experts,” the assertion continues.
This contrasts with rhetoric from President Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and different administration officers who have called for a nationwide reopening of schools whereas downplaying public well being issues, at the same time as case numbers proceed to rise in lots of components of the nation. The assertion is critical as a result of it weakens one of many key arguments that these officers have superior: that they’re merely listening to the nation’s pediatricians.
But regardless of the administration’s ideas, there was all the time important daylight between their positions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’s authentic guidance stated that the group “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” But the doc makes clear that every one choices about reopening must be made with public well being concerns in thoughts.
“It is critically important to develop strategies that can be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the community and done with close communication with state and/or local public health authorities,” it says.
Goza, the AAP president, additionally stated in an interview with NPR Wednesday that faculties shouldn’t be pressured to open in locations the place virus caseloads are surging.
Trump has not supplied these caveats when he has stated that faculties should reopen, and threatened financial consequences for faculties that don’t comply with by way of. He reiterated this view in a tweet this morning: “Schools must be open in the Fall. If not open, why would the Federal Government give Funding?”
The Friday statement from the AAP rebukes Trump with out mentioning him by identify.
“We call on Congress and the administration to provide the federal resources needed to ensure that inadequate funding does not stand in the way of safely educating and caring for children in our schools,” it says. “Withholding funding from schools that do not open in person full-time would be a misguided approach, putting already financially strapped schools in an impossible position that would threaten the health of students and teachers.”