Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly dodged questions about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on school re-openings under the Biden administration in a Wednesday morning interview.
Speaking to NBC’s “Today” show, Harris was pressed continually on the CDC’s guidance released last week on their phased re-opening of schools, specifically on the point that teachers are not required to be vaccinated.
Asked if it was a mistake that the guidance would keep 90 percent of schools closed for in-person learning, Harris would only say that it was the administration’s priority to get schools’ doors open.
“In the last four weeks, schools are opening, every week more schools are opening,” the vice president told host Savannah Guthrie, “And it is because we are supplementing what needs to happen around the vaccinations getting into states, but also because we are seeing progress, folks are wearing masks when they’re getting vaccinated, when they’re social distancing, we’re seeing progress there.”
“But we all want the schools to re-open, Savannah, all of us who have children in our lives. They want to go back to school, we want them to go back to school, teachers want to teach.”
Pressed further, Harris argued that the guidelines did not need to be followed as though they were legally binding.
“What the CDC, what they have recommended are exactly that: recommendations about how to re-open safely if they’ve been closed, how to stay open if they’ve been opened.
“Some recommendations include what, again, needs to happen around social distancing, hand-washing, mask-wearing. But the point is that we all want our kids to get back to school as quickly as possible and as safely as possible,” Harris said.
Pressed Tuesday night during his CNN town hall about school closings, Biden said press secretary Jen Psaki was wrong when she said his plan would only see half of the children back in classrooms for as little as one day per week.
The commander-in-chief said he wanted a full school re-opening by the end of his first 100 days in office, predicting there would even be districts where they might institute a full summer school semester.
“That’s not true. There was a mistake in the communication,” Biden told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper when asked about the scaled-back one-day-per week goal.
Biden said he would be “close to” meeting his goal of re-opening the majority of K-8 schools by the end of April.
“We’ve had a significant percentage of them being able to be open,” he said.
“My guess is they’re going to be probably pushing to open all summer to continue like it’s a different semester,” he went on. “I think many of them will do five days a week, the goal will be five days a week.”