With the CDC preparing to release new guidelines on how to open schools back up in major cities across the country next week, several Republicans are railing against the Biden administration for refusing to put these schools on notice: Open up or risk losing your federal funding. Pointing to countless studies that have shown that virtual learning has been an absolute disaster in terms of providing a quality education, conservatives are demanding that the president take a harder line with schools that refuse to return to in-person learning.
In an interview with Fox News this weekend, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis called on President Biden to explain to teachers that low student transmission rates prove that school is a safe place for both children and adults.
“It would be very helpful if the president and the first lady would be willing to intervene here and try to encourage America’s teachers to get back into the classrooms,” Malliotakis said. “I could tell you, the teachers that I speak to in New York City and many of those who work in our schools, they do want to go back to work and parents certainly want to have their children back in the classroom.”
Well, that may be Malliotakis’s experience, and we don’t doubt that there are plenty of teachers who are more than ready to return to their classrooms. On the other hand, you have a city like Chicago, where teachers are basically daring the school system to fire them en masse – that’s how determined they are to sit home. They’ve said they will not go back to school until everyone has been vaccinated – a demand that will likely make a return this year impossible.
The thing is, though, all the science shows that schools are one of the safest forms of in-person gatherings during COVID. For whatever reason, children just do not act as great facilitators for this virus. When you combine that fact with reasonable safety precautions, states all over the country have shown that we can get everyone back to school without endangering teachers and students. Unfortunately, Democrats in office are ignoring those truths.
“What we’re seeing from our elected leaders is they want to follow the science only when it fits their narrative and what’s politically, politically expedient for them,” Malliotakis said. “You’re seeing this on the education front with President Biden and you’re also seeing it, by the way, with reopening our restaurants here in New York City.”
It’s no longer clear what benefit these officials are getting from keeping schools closed, other than their obvious fear of the unions. Whatever the reason, though, it’s beyond time to get kids back in class. They’ve lost too much time already.