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Trump ramps up push to reopen schools

President Trump met with parents, teachers and pediatricians at the White House on Wednesday to argue the risks posed by virtual learning outweigh those posed by COVID-19 seeping into the classroom.

Prodded by the president, the panel said staring at a computer at home is not as good as in-person learning. Kids miss out on detailed instruction from teachers and the support services that schools provide to students with special needs.
“You cannot do virtual therapies,” said Richard Corcoran, commissioner of the Florida Department of Education.

Mr. Trump, who faces reelection in November, has been adamant about reopening schools this fall. He’s toggled between saying places with widespread transmission may need to start out virtually and nudging districts to resume in-person.

Wednesday’s event marked a ramping up of his push to get the buildings open completely.
“If you’re going to do it, do it,” Mr. Trump said. “Every other day seems very strange.”

A person on the panel said the idea behind having students alternate their attendance is so that fewer students are in the building at once to ensure physical spacing.

At one point, Mr. Trump took a swipe at Democratic opponent Joseph R. Biden for the time he’s spent in COVID-19 shelter at home instead of on the campaign trail.

“If you’re a presidential candidate and you’re sitting in a basement looking at a computer that’s not a good thing?” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump suggested teachers’ unions are getting in the way of reopening.
He said money spent on schools should “follow the student,” allowing families to choose a new school during the pandemic. The idea tracks closely with the administration general push to allow for “school choice” so that students can escape a bad situation in their designated public school.

The president also reprised his call for college football programs to play out their fall seasons, one day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 opted to postpone play.
“We want to see college football,” Mr. Trump said.

“I think some of it will happen, to a large extent it’s going to happen,” Mr. Trump said.

He said he spoke to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has emerged as a top advocate for letting athletes play under the belief they’re safer under team protocols than living life without them.

“He got it, he got it very quickly,” Mr. Trump said.

The president’s insistence on in-person instruction is based in part on evidence that shows young children aren’t affected by COVID-19 as severely as older persons.

He says children almost immune. However, the Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association recently said nearly 340,000 children in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus, including 97,000 in the last two weeks of July alone.

Already, students in Mississippi and Georgia have been forced to quarantine after reports of infections.

Experts say even if children tend to recover from the disease, they can spread it to a vulnerable family member.

The Democratic National Committee on Wednesday said parents and teachers don’t trust Mr. Trump on the issue.

“Even after more than 160,000 Americans have died and millions have lost their jobs, Trump continues to follow his failed playbook: lie and downplay the threat of the virus and make decisions based on what he thinks will benefit him politically,” DNC War Room senior spokeswoman Lily Adams said. “As a result, American families continue to weather chaos as Trump prolongs this crisis.”

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Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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