As the new school year approaches, many lawmakers are split on whether state and local governments should reopen their schools. While there have been spikes in cases in states like Texas and Florida, parents are looking to their leaders on how to best move forward for the well-being of their children.
In an interview this morning, President Trump again reiterated the importance of reopening schools. He told Fox & Friends, “My view is the schools should open. This thing is going away. It will go away like things go away and my view is that schools should be open.” President Trump continued that children are “almost immune,” and that older or at-risk teachers should be given the option to not return. Trump said, “It doesn’t impact them and I have watched some doctors say they’re totally immune. The fact is that they are virtually immune from this problem and we have to open our schools.”
But Dr. Birx said in an interview with CNN that in order for school to reopen, “we need to stop the cases.” Teachers unions, in particular, are fighting against any plan to reopen, citing health concerns. In New York, the United Federation of Teachers’ Solidarity Caucus is calling for the resignation of Chancellor Richard Carranza. In a statement, they said Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza “have consistently failed to provide that leadership and instead, continue to create confusion and chaos despite the urging of government representatives, multiple parent and community groups, the teachers union, and other advocates for public education, to work towards a solution that puts the health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens, our children, above and beyond and political pressure to “reopen” and ultimately putting ALL at risk for exposure to COVID-19.”
The teachers union, however, are receiving backlash from parents, politicians, and other groups. As the new COVID relief bill is rushed to pass before Congress recesses, once it does, billions of dollars will go to education with the purpose to help schools reopen. Union critics have said education centers want the large government handouts, but then are essentially paid not to work. In particular, the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board has called out the teachers union for using the coronavirus as an “opportunity” to “squeeze more money from taxpayers and put their private and public charter school competition out of business.” In their op-ed published Monday night, the board said “Rather than work to open schools safely, the unions are issuing ultimatums and threatening strikes until they are granted their ideological wish list. Children, who would have to endure more lost instruction, are their hostages.”
If children do not go back to school, it will fall of the parents’ to monitor their education, and may prevent many parents from going back to work. As the economy struggles to reopen, and hopefully recover, schools remaining closed will prevent life going back to normal, and may have longterm, negative effects on the students.