WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Vice President Mike Pence said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be issuing new guidance and a new set of tools soon to provide "more clarity" for how to safely reopen schools in the fall.
School districts across the country are struggling with how to safely reopen as the coronavirus continues to surge in some states. The vice president, speaking after a meeting Wednesday of the White House coronavirus task force at the Education Department, called it “absolutely essential” for students to return to the classroom for in-person learning.
Pence announced plans for new CDC guidelines shortly after President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize the public health agency for asking schools “to do very impractical things.”
Pence pointed to a slowing coronavirus death rate nationally and early indications of positive tests flattening in Arizona, Florida and Texas. Those three states in recent weeks have seen some of the biggest spikes in coronavirus infections.
During Wednesday's press briefing, CDC Director Robert Redfield said they don't want the agency's guidelines to be used as a reason for schools not to open in the fall.
The task force briefing began shortly after the U.S. officially hit three million confirmed coronavirus cases, though health experts believe millions more have likely been infected.
The task force used to hold daily press briefings, but then it didn't hold another one for nearly two months.
Since returning from the hiatus, the group has held three briefings, none of which have been at the White House and President Donald Trump hasn't been in attendance at any of them.