White House says guidelines to reopen schools will be up to local governments

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White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany joins ‘Fox and Friends’

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday it will be up to local governments to determine how best to bring students back to the classroom this fall after the coronavirus closings.

“We leave it to localities as to exactly what guidelines will work because guidelines in a state like North Dakota need to look different than a locality like Miami,” McEnany said on “Fox & Friends.”

CDC IS 'PREPARED TO WORK WITH EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT' FOR SAFE REOPENINGS

“The CDC guidelines are out there as a best-case scenario of this is how a school should look … but several of the principles in there are not feasible and not possible—which even the CDC guidelines say,” McEnany explained, specifically referencing the guideline that suggests students bring their own lunch to school.

“We know that half of America’s students depend on school lunch,” she said. “From a poverty-level standpoint, they need that school lunch.”

McEnany’s comments come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week released guidelines for schools to safely reopen as positive cases of COVID-19 surge in states across the country.

CDC Director Robert Redfield last week was forced to clarify the agency’s guidelines, after President Trump said he disagreed with them, calling them “impractical” and “very tough & expensive.”

Redfield explained last week during an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the CDC would be offering “different reference documents” for local governments and school districts to review as they begin to determine whether they can safely reopen this fall.

“Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid communities that are trying to open K-12 schools, reference documents for parents, reference documents for schools to monitor symptoms, reference documents for face masks, and for how to evaluate and monitor,” Redfield said.

He added: “It's not a revision of the guidelines, but it is to provide additional information to help schools.”

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Redfield said that the CDC “provides guidelines, not requirements,” and that “the purpose of the guidance is to help local jurisdictions to open schools.”

The CDC director said some of the guidance includes keeping students 6 feet apart, wearing face coverings and “looking at changes in schedule.”

He noted that some schools were concerned about social distancing, while others were concerned about face masks or rotating schedules.

“These decisions are local decisions,” he said. “We are prepared to work with any school on how they can take this guidance and do it in a way that is comfortable for them.”

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Redfield added that the guidelines “are intentionally nonprescriptive.”

“We put out a spectrum of strategies, schools are committed to reopening safely, just as the CDC is,” Redfield said.

Meanwhile, Trump, during an event with first lady Melania Trump last week, said his administration would “very much put pressure” on governors to reopen schools in their states in the fall.

The president has also threatened to cut federal funding for districts and local governments that choose to keep students on a remote-learning schedule.

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