Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the Trump administration is “very seriously” looking at penalizing schools that refuse to fully reopen in the Fall.
During an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, DeVos said her department could withhold funding from these schools, including higher education and local public school districts.
The Daily Caller reports Carlson asked DeVos where she and the administration fall on the debate to reopen at the end of the summer. She insisted the administration is instructing schools to fully reopen.
But, Carlson asked, “What can the Department of Education do to make certain that happens?”
“Like the president said today there is no excuse for schools not to reopen again and for kids to be able to learn again full-time,” DeVos answered. “The data doesn’t suggest anything different. The medical experts aren’t suggesting anything different and as you pointed out in your opening statement, this is more an issue of adults who are more interested in their own issues then they are about serving their students. It’s very clear that kids have got to go back to school.”
“We are looking at this very seriously,” she continued. “This is a very serious issue across the country. Kids have got to continue learning. Schools have got to continue looking up.”
DeVos added: “There has got to be a concerted effort to address the needs of all kids and adults who are fear-mongering and making excuses simply have got to stop doing it and turn their attention on what is right for students and for their families.”
President Trump said on Tuesday he was encouraging schools to reopen amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A decision not to reopen, Trump argued, was political and not based on science.
“They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” Trump said via the Associated Press. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”
“We want to reopen the schools,” he continued. “Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It’s time to do it.”
Here’s more, from the report:
Whether schools and colleges should open this fall and how has been a topic of growing debate as the coronavirus continues to surge in parts of the United States. Trump applauded Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his state’s recent order to open public schools this fall. And Trump attacked Harvard University for its decision to hold instruction online for the fall term.
“I think it’s ridiculous, I think it’s an easy way out and I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent mixed signals on the issue, saying students should return to the classroom but also noting that virtual classes present the lowest risk of COVID-19 spread. Speaking at Trump’s event Tuesday, however, the agency’s director said unequivocally that it’s better for students to be in school than at home.