White House blocks CDC from testifying on reopening schools

The CDC Director Robert Redfield has «has testified on the Hill at least four times over the last three months«, according to a White House statement. «We need our doctors focused on the pandemic response.»

In a statement, House Education and Labour committee chairman Bobby Scott called the move «alarming» and condemned the administrations «strategy of prioritising politics over science» and its «devastating impact on our country throughout this pandemic».

«It should not make that same mistake when it comes to reopening schools,» he said.

The White House has blocked officials at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from testifying to Congress on plans on school safety plans — even as Donald Trump’s administration demands schools reopen within weeks despite surging coronavirus infections across the US.

A subcommittee hearing on 23 July is set to discuss safely reopening schools.

The White House decision follows similar attempts to prevent prominent health officials from testifying to Congress about the administration’s coronavirus response, including infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci.

Dr Redfield and other administration officials have appeared in front of several congressional panels within recent weeks.

Initial CDC guidelines for schools included a checklist for school staff to determine readiness, urged contingency plans if there’s an outbreak or illness, and to educate students about physically distancing from others, proper hand-washing and other measures.

Extended guidelines were initially set for release this week, but the CDC has announced that extended guidelines will be released by the end of the month instead.

But the president has criticised the guidelines, calling them «very tough» and «expensive» for schools to follow as he continues to urge schools to reopen while he oversees a dramatic rise in infections.

He also has threatened to withhold funding to schools that refuse to reopen.

«These science- and evidence-based resources and tools will provide additional information for administrators, teachers and staff, parents, caregivers and guardians, as together we work towards the public health-oriented goal of safely opening schools this fall,» according to a CDC statement.

«School reopening plans must be guided by the advice of public health experts,» Mr Scott said.

«For that reason, we asked the CDC to testify in a public hearing to provide greater clarity on the steps we can take to help schools reopen safely … It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the Committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents, and educators. This lack of transparency does a great disservice to the many communities across the country facing difficult decisions about reopening schools this fall.»

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *