Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has said he’d “like to think that, in many places” in the United States, schools can re-open for in-person education five days a week this spring.
The comments were in response to a question from CNN host Jake Tapper about when the secretary thinks school can return full time. “As soon as possible,” Cardona said.
He added that he believes in-person learning is not substitutable.
According to research presented to Congress on Friday by nonprofits the COVID Collaborative, the Walton Family Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and others, “Closing schools should be a last resort and done only after all other community mitigation measures have been deployed. In such cases, there should be extreme urgency to reopen schools as quickly and safely as possible.”
According to data from Burbio, Iowa, Montana, Wyoming, and Florida had 100 percent re-opened all their schools by February. Meanwhile in Oregon, California, New Mexico, and Maryland, around 85 percent of schools still teach remotely.
“I know [there are] schools that are functioning all day, every day, five days a week, for all students currently, and we need to continue to grow and make sure that we’re giving students an opportunity to be in school as much as possible,” Cardona told Tapper.
“My biggest priority is making sure that we’re doing everything we can to move from remote learning to in-person learning, five days a week, as quickly as possible, across the country,” he added.
Cardona added that he was confident in getting more schools re-open after the passing of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
The Biden administration’s efforts to re-open schools has been heavily criticized by conservatives.
Former President Donald Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference two weeks ago that Biden’s White House was “selling out America’s children to the teachers’ unions” and has “shamefully betrayed America’s youth.”
Just a few days before Trump’s comments, Biden has promised again that a majority of elementary schools will be re-opened five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office.