Biden Just Called This One Aspect of COVID a "National Emergency"
Although this needs to be addressed, experts think policy won't change anytime soon.
The U.S. has been experiencing a nationwide crisis since COVID was first detected in the country last year. While there are countless aspects of the virus that feel pressing to address, President Joe Biden called out one in particular during a recent interview. POTUS said school closures are a "national emergency" and noted that children are paying the price. For more of Biden's thoughts, keep reading, and for more updates from the federal government, The White House Just Confirmed This Grim COVID Rumor.
President Biden said school closures are a "national emergency."
On Feb. 7, CBS' Norah O'Donnell threw some facts about school closures at Biden. "About 20 million American children have not been in the classroom for nearly a year. There's a mental health crisis happening. Women are dropping out of the workforce," O'Donnell said. "Is this a national emergency?"
"It is a national emergency," Biden answered. "It genuinely is a national emergency."
O'Donnell followed up to ask Biden if he felt it was time for schools to reopen. "I think it's time for schools to reopen safely," he said. "You have to have fewer people in the classroom. You have to have ventilation systems that have been reworked."
Schools' responses to COVID have varied greatly across districts. Some schools have been able to conduct classes in person safely this entire school year, while others haven't made any attempt. A study by the nonprofit Bellweather Education Partners estimated that up to 3 million U.S. students have gone without formal education—either virtual or in-person—since March. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The CDC is currently developing the minimum requirements for schools to be open.
According to Biden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky, MD, is coming out with science-based guidelines for school openings as early as Feb. 10. He said the new guidelines would outline the minimum safety requirements schools would need to meet to open. And for more guidance from the CDC, If You Have These Vaccine Side Effects, Don't Get Another Shot, CDC Says.
Biden pledged to reopen schools in his first 100 days.
Biden has pledged to reopen schools within his first 100 days in office. However, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, seems to doubt the possibility of schools reopening so quickly. According to Axios, on Jan. 28, Fauci told teachers' unions "that may not happen because there may be mitigating circumstances." Those mitigating circumstances include the new, more transmissible strains of COVID.
Additionally, a report from the U.S. Department of Education said, "Currently, there is not enough data to understand the status of school re-opening and how students are learning nationwide."And for more insight from the infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci Just Issued This New Chilling Warning About COVID.
The president knows that the pandemic has been hard on children.
In the CBS interview, O'Donnell noted that it's been hard for children not only to miss out on school, but also to miss out on extracurriculars. Biden agreed. "I think about the price—so many of my grandkids and your kids are going to pay for not having had the chance to finish whatever it was," Biden said. "I think they're going through a lot, these kids." And if you're worried about staying healthy, This Is Where You're Most Likely to Catch COVID, New Study Says.