On Tuesday, United States President Donald Trump urged all state and local officials to work on reopening schools this fall, stating that some officials are using the coronavirus pandemic as a tool to keep the education establishments closed but in truth are backed by political reasons.
Pressuring local governments
According to AP News, Trump called out officials who took advantage of the global crisis, thinking it would suit them politically by keeping schools on lockdown. During a discussion in the White House, the US president put out his plans to reopen schools and pressure government officials to follow his plans.
Several health and education leaders from across the nation that the White House gathered all agreed that schools and universities are prepared to reopen this fall and will be able to maintain the safety of their students and personnel amid the growing number of coronavirus cases.
Experts argue that keeping children inside their homes pose a far higher risk than students going to schools with the coronavirus pandemic still running rampant. The officials noted children require access to meal programs as well as mental and behavioral health services.
The United States president stated they wanted to begin reopening schools once again and noted that the majority of the population wants the same, including families of children who have been deprived of their educational growth.
However, several individuals criticized the president's decision with Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of America's largest education union, saying Trump was more inclined towards gaining favor for the November elections than the well-being of students.
Garcia of the National Education Association said Trump has again revealed how he was unable to understand that people are dying to the coronavirus pandemic with the United States' death toll currently at 130,000.
The union leader also said that educators wanted to be back in school and teaching students in person once again but emphasized that it must be done with utmost caution and preparation to avoid the spread of the coronavirus and risking the lives of the students and teachers.
Distancing from medical experts
Trump's decision to reopen schools comes after his previous controversial move of notifying the United Nations that the United States was formally separating itself from the World Health Organization (WHO) by next year as a response to the agency's alleged lack of proper handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as reported by The New York Times.
To pressure some schools and universities that depended entirely on full-tuition-paying students for their income, Trump's administration denied international students from going back to the United States if their schools continued with only online classes.
Trump had previously stated that the nation has been doing a great job in fighting against the coronavirus and expected that it would be in much better shape in just a couple of weeks. The US president also called the surging outbreaks across the nation as mere "fires" that would eventually be put out.
According to CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said taking comfort in a lower death rate is a false narrative and reaffirmed that the virus is much more sinister than what is seen by the public.