Trump to address school reopenings at briefing on Thursday: White House

FILE PHOTO: A sign of health safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen on the door to the main office at Mantua Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday will discuss a strategy to reopen the nation’s schools as coronavirus cases surge in many parts of the country.

Trump’s 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) news conference will focus on a schools reopening plan, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said in an interview with Fox News Channel.

Schools were shut down across the country after the novel coronavirus emerged and began spreading, and Trump has been determined to find a way to get them open again.

McEnany said the institutions are key to identifying child abuse cases and to helping women return to work, as they primarily provide childcare in the country.

“Look, this president’s been clear: we want schools to reopen,” she said.

On Tuesday, U.S. deaths from COVID-19 topped 1,000 in a single day for the first time since June 10. More than 142,000 people have died in the country during the past five months and deaths are still rising in 23 states, according to a Reuters tally.

With schools set to resume in a few weeks, local officials across the country have announced a variety of plans to resume teaching.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to issue additional guidelines on how schools can safely reopen as early as this week.

Trump, a Republican who is seeking re-election in November, has accused Democrats of wanting to keep schools shut for political reasons and threatened to cut off federal funding to schools that do not reopen, despite a surge in coronavirus cases.

He criticized the original CDC guidelines on schools as too tough, impractical and expensive earlier this month. The agency charged with protecting Americans’ health then said it would issue additional guidelines.

While the risk of severe COVID-19 is seen as relatively low for children, there is fear they could infect more vulnerable teachers and other adult school administrators.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot)

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