- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Trump administration is encouraging schools to reopen this fall to respect the “holistic health and learning needs” of students despite a rise of COVID-19 cases in numerous states, senior administration officials said Tuesday.

While emphasizing that reopening schools is a decision for states and local communities, one administration official told reporters that school closures “can have a significant negative impact on the health of the communities.”

“CDC never recommended school closures,” a senior administration official said of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “These decisions are local decisions. Our goal right now is to work hand-in-hand with local jurisdictions … to help let them see the best ways to reopen these schools in a safe way and get back to where we would have really preferred to have been through the spring of this year.”

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are hosting a roundtable discussion at the White House on Tuesday on how to safely reopen schools. Among those taking part are educators, students and public-health officials.

Vice President Mike Pence also is holding a conference call with governors Tuesday on the subject. Florida’s education commissioner on Monday ordered all K-12 schools in the state to reopen in August.

The American Academy of Pediatrics last week recommended that students be “physically present in school” as much as possible, saying there are significant health, social and educational risks to keeping children at home.

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