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President Biden speaks about coronavirus protections in schools during a visit to Brookland Middle School in Washington, D.C., Sept. 10. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday accused some Republican governors of being "cavalier" with children's health for resisting calls for implementing widespread coronavirus vaccine requirements.

Driving the news: Several Republican governors and the Republican National Committee on Thursday vowed to take the Biden administration to court over the president's plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or testing for more than 80 million private-sector employees.

  • The requirements were part of the administration six-point plan to respond to the virus announced earlier Thursday.
  • Some Republican governors have also previously banned mask mandates, including in schools.

What he's saying: "I am so disappointed that particularly some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities," Biden said during a visit to Brookland Middle School on Friday. "This isn’t a game."

Biden and first lady Jill Biden also urged parents to get vaccinated to protect their children and keep schools open.

  • "We owe them a promise to keep their schools open as safe as possible," the first lady said. "We owe them a commitment to follow the science. We owe them unity, so that we can fight the virus, not each other."
  • "It means following the science, wearing a mask, getting tested, getting vaccinated. It means working together and looking out for each other like they teach you in school. We can look out for each other. We can do this," the president added while visiting the school with the first lady and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
  • "The safest thing you can do for your child 12 and over is get them vaccinated," Biden said."The best way for parents to protect a child under 12 starts at home. Every parent, every teen sibling, every caregiver around them should be vaccinated."

The big picture: Biden's plan to respond to COVID-19 includes efforts to keep schools open amid rising cases.

  • The plan revealed Thursday requires staff in school settings — including Head Start, youth programs at the Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Indian Education-Operated Schools — to be vaccinated.
  • The plan also urges states to require vaccines for school employees, provides funding for school districts to support reopening — including backfilling salaries — and encourages regular testing for students and school staff, among other things.
  • The FDA said separately on Friday that it is "working around the clock" to support the process of making the coronavirus vaccine available for children under the age of 12.

Go deeper: America's civil war of 2021

Editor's note: This story and headline have been updated with additional comments from Biden.

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Oct 18, 2021 - Axios Denver

Meet the candidates: Denver school board at-large seat

From left to right, Marla Benavides, Jane Shirley, Scott Esserman, Nicky Yollick, Vernon Jones Jr. Photos courtesy of campaigns

The state's largest school district is holding elections in four of nine districts, our education reporting partner Chalkbeat writes.

Let's meet the at-large candidates in the order they will appear on Denver residents' ballots.

Oct 18, 2021 - Podcasts

Biden, Manchin and climate change

There was lots of news over the weekend about West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to a crucial piece of President Biden's proposed climate agenda. That piece would encourage wind, solar, and other zero carbon sources of clean electricity. Axios' Ben Geman has a reality check.

  • Plus, how the U.S. Secretary of Education says he's tackling crises in our public schools.
  • And, the history of American newspapers promoting lynching.

Guests: Axios' Ben Geman and Jonathan Swan; DeNeen Brown, associate professor at the University of Maryland and Washington Post reporter.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, Alex Sugiura, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Michael Hanf, and David Toledo. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

20 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota offers cash and chance at $100K scholarship as vaccine incentive for teens

Expand chart
Data: Minnesota COVID-19 Response; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Minnesota is offering new incentives to shot-wary teens in an effort to boost the state's COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Driving the news: 12 to 17 year olds who get both doses over the next six weeks will receive a $200 Visa gift card, Gov. Tim Walz's administration announced Monday.

  • Kids vaccinated during this period can also enter a lottery for one of five $100,000 scholarships to attend any of the state's public or private colleges or universities.

Why it matters: Public health officials say increasing vaccination rates among young Minnesotans is key to curbing spread of the virus, especially in schools.