Pelosi: Trump, DeVos ‘Messing with the Health of Our Children’

KEREM YUCEL  AFP via Getty Images

KEREM YUCEL AFP via Getty Images

"What we heard from the secretary was malfeasance and dereliction of duty", Pelosi said on CNN.

"The CDC guidelines are just that, meant to be flexible and meant to be applied as appropriate for the situation", DeVos, who was speaking from Grand Rapids, told CNN's Dana Bash in a more than 20-minute interview. It has advised that seats be spaced at least six feet apart and that sneeze guards and partitions be put in place when social distancing is not possible.

"Doesn't it make more sense to increase funding for schools where it's unsafe rather than cut off funding?" he asked.

Some districts, such as the New York City public schools, are planning on such a hybrid model. He's also threatened to withhold money from districts that do not reopen in the fall.

He told Bash parents and students would be given the choice of spending two days per week in school this fall, while spending the rest of the week virtually learning, or they could elect to go completely virtual. "And where there are little flare ups or hotspots, that can be dealt with on a school-by-school or a case-by-case basis". "There's ample opportunity to have kids in school".

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"But we do have to do that safely", he added.

"If we don't have that we won't get control of the virus".

"We know that children get the virus at a far lower rate than any other part of the population".

Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said President Donald Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's plan to reopen schools is "messing with the health of our children".

"This is appalling", said Pelosi, a California Democrat. "There is nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is unsafe to them", she told CNN.

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"Teachers, kids and parents are fearing for their lives", she wrote on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

Pressed repeatedly on whether schools should implement remote learning in the event that there is a flare-up of coronavirus cases in their district, DeVos said: "I think the go-to needs to be kids in school, in person, in the classroom". "They ignore science and they ignore governance to make this happen".

Why it matters: The Trump administration is engaged in a full-court press to reopen schools this fall, despite warnings from some public health officials that the coronavirus outbreak is out of control in many states and that it will be hard for many schools to reopen safely. "Then give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise". "A month ago, it was at 6 percent", he said of his area. She added that the CDC is "very much of the posture that kids need to be back in school for a multitude of reasons". "It's just that simple".

"We're the size of five Pentagons". "You would need another five Pentagons of space to be able to safely accommodate all of the students in Fairfax County Public Schools".

Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, said on "Fox News Sunday" that while it's true that children are less at risk of serious COVID-19 infection than adults, the virus can still be unsafe.

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