White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a public announcement alleged that there was "media bias" over a statement she made on reopening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Twitter post, McEnany shared a post from a media outlet that featured the following in the text body: "White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on school reopenings: 'The science should not stand in the way of this,'" along with a video of a slightly longer excerpt of what McEnany said.
In the same post, McEnany pointed out that she had said another sentence: "The science is very clear on this...the science is on our side here. We encourage our localities & states to just simply follow the science. Open our schools."
McEnany was asked by a reporter about what President Donald Trump would convey to parents about what to do about children whose school districts have decided to hold online classes only.
McEnany responded that Trump has "said unmistakably that he wants schools to open ... And when he says open, he means open in full—kids being able to attend each and every day at their school."
She added, "The science should not stand in the way of this. And as Dr. Scott Atlas said—I thought this was a good quote—Of course, we can do it. Everyone else in the Western world, our peer nations are doing it. We are the outlier here."
"The science is very clear on this, that—you know, for instance, you look at the JAMA Pediatrics study of 46 pediatric hospitals in North America that said the risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than that of seasonal flu," McEnany continued.
"The science is on our side here, and we encourage for localities and states to just simply follow the science, open our schools. It's very damaging to our children: There is a lack of reporting of abuse; there's mental depressions that are not addressed; suicidal ideations that are not addressed when students are not in school. Our schools are extremely important, they're essential, and they must reopen," she added, concluding her response to the question.
Several media outlets late Thursday reported McEnany's quote, "the science should not stand in the way of this," as part of their headlines. Some outlets in the article body characterized the latter part of her quote, "the science is very clear on this ... the science is on our side here," as an immediate about-face move following the initial quote.
"Thus, up to this time of the pandemic in North America, children continue to face a far greater risk of critical illness from influenza than from COVID-19, pointing to the imperative for ongoing preventive pediatric health maintenance during this time," the study authors stated. They noted that there were limitations to the study, however, including the idea that "hospitalized severely ill children during this sampling period may not have been tested for lack of suspicion of the disease, testing capability, or both."
In March, due to COVID-19 fears, 75 million students were sent out of classrooms and onto computers to resume learning from home. Teachers and administrators scrambled to find the best way to teach online and provide as much support as possible from afar.
Most schools in the United States remain closed for in-person learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been concerns over the possibility that children could still spread the illness to older teachers and school employees, as well as carry the illness home to older relatives.
The KFF's latest report did note, however, that children are at a "lower risk of infection, present with milder symptoms, and are much less likely to die from the infection compared to older adults."
"The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020," the group said.