- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to issue new guidelines next week for how schools can safely reopen in the coming weeks and months after President Trump criticized the agency’s metrics as too onerous.

“Our recommendations are not requirements, and they’re not meant to be prescriptive,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, told reporters on Wednesday.

He said the guidelines should not be seen as a rationale to keep schools closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Redfield said the new guidelines would likely deal with issues like symptom surveillance, face masks, and monitoring.

Vice President Mike Pence said the new guidance would be coming next week.

President Trump earlier Tuesday criticized the CDC’s approach.

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” the president said on Twitter.

Existing CDC guidance for reopening K-12 schools says schools can consider teaching proper hygiene and handwashing, encourages the use of cloth face coverings, and cleaning and disinfecting “frequently touched surfaces” like door handles.

At a White House event on Tuesday, Dr. Redfield also listed several basic safety recommendations for schools to safely reopen. They include reconfiguring classrooms to keep students at least six feet apart, upgrading ventilation systems and closing common areas.

Mr. Trump said this week he would be putting pressure on governors to get schools to reopen and threatened to withhold federal funding if they don’t.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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