U.S. Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) and U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (CA) today blasted the Trump Administration for failing to communicate a plan to school districts on how to reopen safely ahead of the upcoming academic year. The two demanded that the Administration develop clear and concise standards that include the input of health experts, teachers, parents, and students to help schools reopen only if and when it is safe to do so.
“Without a plan to reopen schools safely, the Trump Administration is not only putting the health of students, teachers, administrators, and parents at risk, it is also threatening our country’s economic recovery,” Porter said. “Millions of parents rely on their children being safely in school during their work day. But if schools reopen without appropriate safety measures, families won’t have the peace of mind they need to work and participate in our economy.”
“Schools in California and across the nation are continuing to grapple with the best and safest way to teach students as the COVID-19 pandemic persists,” said Harris. “It is already July and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Education have failed to put forth comprehensive guidance for reopening schools– this is unacceptable. There must be a clear set of federal guidelines for schools so they can reopen safely.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not published guidance for school administrators since March 12, 2020. Furthermore, this March communication does not provide clear and concise requirements for school districts and is now outdated, as it fails to address key discoveries about the coronavirus, such as widespread community transmission.
In their letter to Trump officials in key cabinet positions, Porter and Harris write, “Both the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education have failed to provide basic guidance to our schools to assist them in reopening safely. You have wasted months, without apparently joining forces to conduct science-based research on the best ways to reopen schools or continue educating students.”