President Biden Urges US Educators to Reopen Schools

Speaking from the White House, President Biden announces that his administration is poise to meet the goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. In a recorded message targeting the country’s educators, he urged the educators to move quickly to reopen the schools so that the in-person learning process could be resumed because they have everything at their disposal to do so; the vaccine, the CDC guidance, and the money.

Available Resources to Be Put to Work in the School Districts

President Biden went on to state that all kinds of assistance were available to the schools, right from purchasing PPE to improving sanitation. And ventilation, hiring additional personnel such as counselors, nurses, custodial staff. So that the schools can give the students the additional support they required to resume classroom learning. And to avoid layoff of educators. He warned that unless quick action was taken, there could be a severe impact on them in the long-term, including their mental health.

Biden’s orders were given in a pre-recorded video message at the National Safe School Reopening Summit organized by the Education Department. It was attended by educators, public health experts, school leaders, and also students to share strategies. And insights on the best practices for effectively reopening schools. In addition, It was to ensure that the children could again benefit from in-person learning implementation of the CDC guidance for risk mitigation. And how to make good the loss in academic, social, and psychological learning by the children whose education had been interrupted for a year.

Study Reveals Deep Racial Disparities in Student Education 

According to data collected by the Federal government, more than half of Asian, Black, and Hispanic fourth-grade students were learning fully-remotely. The comparative figure for white students was half of that. Therefore Close to half of white students continued to benefit from in-person learning. Similarly Even among students learning remotely, many were receiving live instruction of two hours or even less. And as many as 5% were not receiving any live instruction at all in their remote classes. The difficulty in getting standardize data due to the lack of Federal guidance on tracking COVID-19 cases and reporting formats had made it difficult for school officials. To take complex and contentious decisions on the reopening of schools. It was only in December last, nearly ten months after the schools were close that there was sufficient information to make more informed inferences to allow schools to reopen.

Funds Released from the Coronavirus Relief Package

Last week, there was an announcement by Miguel Cardona, Education Secretary regarding their decision to release $122 billion for K-12 education, to states. Moreover, an additional amount of $7.6 billion has been sanction for students with disabilities. The education secretary further announces that an additional $10 billion will be on release for tracing and testing in schools. This funding was supposed to be a part of the coronavirus relief package ($1.9 trillion) announced by the administration earlier.

The decision to open the schools comes in the wake of the CDC’s decision to make changes in the social distancing guidelines for schools. The CDC now mandates a minimum of 3 feet distance instead of the previous 6 feet for social distancing. Above all, This decision should motivate more schools to consider reopening for continuing in-person learning. And this may include the prominent urban school districts. They had been encountering massive challenges and issues related to reopening schools. 

President Joe Bidden addressed the nation’s school leaders and educators on Wednesday telling them that they now have the vaccines and CDC mandates about ways to reopen schools safely. Since the schools now have the funds, it is time for them to start taking proactive measures to reopen schools. 

Even though two months have passed after Biden has come to power, millions of students are continuing to learn at home. However, Politico reported that President Joe Biden has strategically asked the first lady to help him out, in promoting his campaign in favor of reopening all schools by the 1st of May 2021. In this context, we may mention that the first lady has been an educator for over three decades.

Even though all educators are eligible for getting the vaccine. Many are yet to get the vaccine because of limited vaccine supplies. The school reopening issue is continuing to divide parents because some of them are in favor of, in-person learning and reopening of schools. While others are against schools reopening because of health concerns.