Donald Trump has implored schools to open as soon as possible, citing that “much very good information” could make it possible as the coronavirus death toll nears 100,000.
The president’s tweet came the evening before Memorial Day when a majority of schools and colleges would’ve already ended their academic school year.
“Schools in our country should be opened ASAP. Much very good information now available,” Mr Trump wrote, tagging Fox News.
The network, which is the president’s choice for getting much of his news, aired a segment on Sunday claiming students were unlikely to spread the coronavirus and were “more likely to die while crossing the street”.
Fox News anchor Steve Hilton made the claims, and he was later tagged in the president’s tweet after the segment aired.
Mr Hilton added it would be “fine” for students to wear masks to school to assist in reopening but thought consistent temperature checks was “unscientific nonsense” and “totally pointless.” He also thought social distancing measures within a school were “over-prescriptive” to put in place.
The president sharing these thoughts on Twitter comes as no surprise as he puts more pressure on states to reopen in an effort to boost the economy.
During a virtual town hall with Fox News last month, Mr Trump was asked about reopening schools and said students would be relatively safe to return. The main concern, the president said, was the older teachers who were more at risk to contract the novel virus, suggesting some should stay home.
School officials were working on plans for the fall to allow for in-person classes to return from kindergarten through college. But these decisions largely depended on state officials and where each area stood in coronavirus cases.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines to assist in reopening, which included suggestions like desks being placed six feet apart, students wearing masks, and closing communal spaces like dining halls to prevent clusters.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll released last week found 41 per cent of Americans thought reopening school during the pandemic was a bad idea, while one-third of respondents thought reopening should happen.
Respondents also said they trusted former Vice President Joe Biden over Mr Trump on decisions relating to education, with 45 per cent of support behind the presumed Democratic candidate and only 34 per cent for the sitting president.
Mr Trump could attempt to influence state governors to allow for their schools to reopen this fall, but the power remained largely with the states.
The coronavirus death toll reached 97,724 people, as of Monday morning, with health officials estimating it will hit 100,000 in the coming days.
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