White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Friday once again affirmed the stance that students should return to classroom when the new school year begins, saying that schools are “essential places of business.”
During her press briefing, McEnany cited the newly-released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which suggested that young children are not as likely to get infected or to spread the CCP virus to their teachers or family members. She emphasized that the CDC recommendations are based on the most updated data available.
McEnany moved on to say even if studies later might suggest a higher transmission rate among young children, they should still be allowed to return to school, given that they rarely experience COVID-19 symptoms as severely as adults do.
“It is our firm belief that our schools are essential places of business, if you will, that our teachers are essential personnel,” McEnany said, responding to a question regarding comments made by Deborah Birx, a member of the White House task force on the pandemic, about the role children play in spreading the virus.
To illustrate her point, McEnany pointed to a recent CDC report, which revealed an alarming underreporting of child abuse amid the months-long school closure.
“There has been a sharp decline in reports of suspected maltreatment, but tragically a notable increase in evidence of abuse when children are seen for services,” the CDC report reads. “Children who live in a home or neighborhood where neglect, violence, or abuse occur, but who are not physically in school, are deprived of access to trained school professionals who can readily identify the signs of trauma and provide needed support and guidance.”
McEnany’s remarks come as President Donald Trump continued to urge schools across the nation to bring students back to the classroom in the fall. He said on Wednesday that he felt “comfortable” with his son and grandchildren returning to school because he was informed that young children are less likely to catch or spread the virus.
“I am comfortable with that,” Trump said after being asked if he would feel comfortable sending his own children back to school. “They don’t catch it easily. They don’t bring it home easily, and if they do catch it, they get better fast.” Trump’s youngest son Barron is 14. He also has 10 grandchildren.
“I would like to see the schools open 100 percent. And we’ll do it safely. We’ll do it carefully,” Trump said.