WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to issue new guidelines for U.S. schools reopening on Friday, White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt said.
Reopening schools is a top priority for the administration of President Joe Biden, who has stressed he wants it done safely and has supported vaccinations for teachers.
The top U.S. health safety agency has been working on a new set of guidelines to meet the challenges that school districts face across the country.
“Tomorrow, the CDC is going to roll out their operating plan to give school districts, local communities, the guidance they need to know to begin to do that and to begin to do that aggressively,” Slavitt said on Thursday.
Pressure to reopen or expand in-person learning for students has been building across the United States in recent weeks as the impact of remote learning on education and family life has become more apparent. The debate over how and when to safely reopen has become heated in many school districts.
Slavitt said he understood why some parents were impatient to reopen and stressed that the CDC was being very thorough in formulating its guidelines on masking, social distancing and other issues.
“I can assure you of one thing: There’s no debate over whether to open schools here. There’s a debate over how,” Slavitt said. “And if it were as simple as ‘open all the schools,’ they’d all be open by now.”
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Bernadette Baum)