“We want to get our schools open,” Trump told health experts, educators, students, and parents who participated in the discussion on how to safely reopen schools that have been closed since March. “We want to get them open quickly, beautifully in the fall.”
To reach this goal, the president said he will pressure state leaders he believes are politicizing the decision to reopen schools.
“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons, they think it’s gonna be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed, no way,” Trump said, after noting that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered schools in his state to reopen next month.
“We’re very much going to put pressure on the governors and everybody else to open the schools,” he continued. “It’s very important for our country, it’s very important for the well-being of the students and the parents.”
Trump was joined by the first lady, who emphasized the physical and psychological impact on students during the months-long school closure. Melania Trump also urged educators and parents to follow guidelines from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
“When children are out of school, they’re missing more than just stuff in the classroom,” she said. “They’re missing the laughter of their friends, learning from their teachers and the joy of recess and play.”
The Trump administration and Republican leaders have repeatedly stressed that schools should reopen and return to the normalcy before the pandemic.
“SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” Trump wrote on Twitter Monday.
“To step back toward normalcy, our country will need K-12 and college students to resume their schooling,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is committed to granting legal protections for schools so that they don’t have to worry about being sued if students get sick when they return.
Meanwhile, school systems are still looking at options and strategies when they reopen. Some districts are considering a hybrid model, meaning that students will go to school for traditional in-person learning for a few days and learn from home the rest of the week.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, however, rejects the idea of part-time reopening, saying on Tuesday that she expects schools to be “fully operational” in the fall.