Biden releases guidelines for safely reopening schools in US
US President Joe Biden on Friday (local time) released guidelines for safely reopening of schools amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"One of my goals as President is to reopen America's schools as quickly and as safely as possible. In our first three weeks in office, we've made progress. Today, more schools are open to more students during the pandemic than was the case under my predecessor," he said in a statement.
According to the guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), appropriate distancing is to be maintained in classrooms and on school buses, masks are to be worn consistently and properly and handwashing is to be done regularly.
"To meet these guidelines, some schools will need more teachers and support staff to ensure smaller class sizes, more buses and bus drivers to transport our kids safely, more spaces to conduct in-person instruction, and more protective equipment, school cleaning services, and physical alterations to reduce the risk of spread of the virus," said Biden. The US President asserted that the cost of keeping children, families, and educators safe is nothing when compared with the cost of inaction, adding that mental health concerns and educational disparities are on the rise as schools remain closed and remote learning isn't the same for every student.
"Our educators are frontline workers who are doing everything they can to protect and educate our students, despite a lack of resources and as districts face budget crises that risk education jobs. Moms -- and dads -- are exiting the workforce in astonishing numbers in order to care for and manage the school experience for their children at home, hindering their own opportunities and further undermining the health of our economy," he said further. "We have sacrificed so much in the last year. But science tells us that if we support our children, educators, and communities with the resources they need, we can get kids back to school safely in more parts of the country sooner," he said. Biden also mentioned that when his Secretary of Education is confirmed, he would task him with working alongside school administrators, educators, and parents to safely accelerate the process of school reopenings.
The US continues to be the worst affected country due to the coronavirus pandemic, with 27,482,451 infections and 480,551 deaths, according to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University.
He also called on US Congress to pass his 'American Rescue Plan' as soon as possible.