As part of the White House’s apparent ongoing effort to infect as many Americans with covid-19 as possible, the Trump administration has decided to bully states into reopening their schools in the fall. Don’t worry, kids, it’s not like virus cases are spiking right now or anything.
The Associated Press reports that Trump seems to think some state governments’ reluctance to reopen schools in the fall has something to do with the election, and not with the deadly virus currently raging through the nation. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” he said at a White House roundtable on Tuesday. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”
The debate over whether or not schools should reopen in the fall is a complicated one. Working parents have been struggling to balance childcare with their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, a struggle that continued school closings will only exacerbate. Children rely on meal programs and after-school programs that might not operate if schools are closed. Students will suffer socially without being able to see their friends and peers. And despite innovations in virtual education, virtual learning is just not as productive as it is in person.
On the other hand, the virus has killed more than 130,000 Americans in just a few months, and schools—largely indoor spaces in which hundreds, if not thousands of bodies come in daily close contact—are basically covid-19 breeding grounds. Not that Trump gives a shit about covid-19 or those 130,000 dead Americans, as he’s made clear time and time again, or a single child on this planet, but it seems he’s very focused on the fictional Democratic conspiracy to kill the economy just to get him out of office.
The Trump administration is so determined to simply give the virus unfettered access to children’s immune systems (not to mention teachers, staff, familes...) that they won’t even consider letting districts offer staggered school schedules that would permit in-person learning but make it easier for students to social distance. So says Secretary of Education and noted ghoul Betsy DeVos: “It’s clear that our nations schools must fully reopen and fully operate this school year. Anything short of that robs students, not to mention taxpayers, of their future.”
One might be more inclined to believe DeVos is worried about American students’ futures had everything she proposed up until now not actively attempted to dismantle them, but she did throw “taxpayers” in there for good measure, so.
Meanwhile, Florida says schools will be back in session in-person, five days a week, starting in August. Relatedly, this is what Florida’s covid-19 curve looks like now.