President Joe Biden continued his call on schools to reopen for in-person learning, echoing similar sentiments from national teachers unions. He added that he expected K-8 schools to reopen soon, noting that his administration is addressing teachers’ concerns about their safety.
In a press conference on Monday, he said that teachers had told him that they wanted to go back to a safe environment and were in support of safely reopening schools, adding that his administration would be able to open up every school, kindergarten through eighth grade if they increased their testing volume and ensured safety protocols were observed.
Biden’s school reopening challenges
However, Biden’s push to reopen schools and his rallying call is will also be his biggest undoings if school reopening fails. Schools across Europe are now dealing with a new wave of coronavirus, which has resulted in the shutting down of the schools again in the region.
Biden is also facing a challenge in getting back students to schools, with some parents, especially from Black and Latino backgrounds, being hesitant to allow their children to go for in-person classes.
The rollout of vaccines has also not been as smooth as it had been anticipated, with delays in distribution to schools being experienced countrywide. This has resulted in a standoff in Chicago, where their teachers’ union has agreed not to return to classes unless they receive the vaccination.
These setbacks are holding back Biden administration’s swift reopening plan, where he made a promise that he was committed to seeing a majority of K-8 students going back for in-person classes. It has also reflected on the uncertainty that the country is going through as they try to balance curbing the spread of the virus and reopening the schools safely.
However, Biden’s latest hope rests in his ability to fund safe reopening through the Covid-19 relief package, which is in congress. The relief package is expected to give schools funds to a tune of $130 billion, which should see the schools reopen safely.