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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Biden will heed the CDC on reopening schools, his wife pledges


Joe Biden will listen to scientists and the CDC on the best time to safely reopen schools, the presumptive Democratic nominee's wife told teachers union members on Thursday, as the Trump administration continues its aggressive push to have schools fully reopen.

Jill Biden, a longtime educator, said she is “heartbroken” for teachers, support staff and students during the coronavirus crisis, and added “it’s all about leadership.”

“I just wish we could vote today, because Joe has a strategy for getting our schools back,” Jill Biden said during the video conference with American Federation of Teachers leaders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Warren has been frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for the former vice president.

“And that includes, first and foremost, listening to the CDC and the doctors and the scientists to tell us when it is safe to go back. And then when we go back ... that we are safe and that we have what we need."

She continued, “It’s got to come from the top, and that’s why we have got to change the leadership in this country. I just can’t say it more strongly.”

Warren, a former presidential candidate, said the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis has been “cruel, heartless and incompetent” and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has spent the pandemic “finding new ways to shovel millions of taxpayer dollars into private schools.”

Biden said her husband will appoint a secretary of education “who has actually taught public school and cares as much about our kids as you do.”

Key context: President Donald Trump is pushing hard to have schools reopen and has threatened to cut funding for schools if they don’t. He has also publicly disavowed his own administration's CDC guidance. “I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

CDC Director Robert Redfield said during a White House panel discussion that schools should “do what they need to reopen.”

What’s next: Vice President Mike Pence will lead a White House coronavirus task force briefing at St. Agnes Catholic School in Arlington Friday morning.



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