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Trump watered down CDC school reopening guidelines to flimsy flowchart

NEA: Schools, colleges can’t return to in-person learning without federal financial help

WASHINGTON - May 18, 2020 -

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a basic flow chart on the reopening of school buildings, along with other businesses. The chart’s public release comes after a tumultuous back-and-forth between the CDC and the White House. The National Education Association — which represents more than 3 million educators working in U.S. public schools, colleges and universities — was not consulted on the reopening guidelines.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“The National Education Association has said repeatedly that we’re listening to the medical and public health experts on when it’s safe to go back into buildings and campuses, and that includes pre-school through graduate school. Yet, the White House has watered down the CDC guidelines to nothing more than a flimsy flowchart, showing Trump’s continued disregard for the safety and wellbeing of students and educators. The news out of France and other countries shows we need to be cautious and focused on safety in reopening planning, and prepared to act swiftly based on data. The reality of reopening school buildings and college campuses is that any missteps could cost lives, particularly among our most vulnerable students and in black, brown and poor communities. Once again, this administration has politics trumping science.

“Educators are creative and collaborative. We’re used to solving problems and working together to tackle the biggest challenges, and we want nothing more than to be back with our students in school buildings. But any scenario for returning to safe, in-person learning requires financial help from the federal government. That’s why we are asking the Senate to quickly pass vital coronavirus relief legislation that provides necessary funding for students and public schools. The American economy cannot recover if schools can’t reopen, and we cannot properly reopen schools if funding is slashed and students don’t have what they need to be safe, learn and succeed.”

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About the National Education Association: The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at

Staci Maiers, NEA Communications
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