Jul 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Scott: White House blocked CDC from testifying on school reopenings

 CDC Director Robert R. Redfield on July 2.

CDC Director Robert R. Redfield on July 2. Photo: Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images

House Education and Labor Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said in a statement Friday that the White House is preventing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from testifying on how to safely reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The Trump administration is pushing schools to fully reopen this fall, despite COVID-19 outbreaks worsening in multiple states.

  • Scott invited CDC director Robert Redfield or another agency official to testify before the Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee on July 23 about how to protect students, teachers and staff from the virus this coming academic year.

What they're saying: “It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the Committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents, and educators," Scott said.

  • "This lack of transparency does a great disservice to the many communities across the country facing difficult decisions about reopening schools this fall."
  • "The administration’s strategy of prioritizing politics over science has had a devastating impact on our country throughout this pandemic. It should not make that same mistake when it comes to reopening schools.”

The big picture: The CDC is also delaying the release of guidance on how to safely reopen schools, CBS News and CNN report. The guidance, which was set to come out this week, will now likely be made public before the end of July.

  • School systems across the U.S. have announced they will not fully reopen this fall, including New York City's, which is the nation's largest public school district, and most California schools.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said this week that public schools that don't reopen in the fall should not receive federal funds.
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