Betsy DeVos Demands Schools Fully Reopen — No Distance Learning, No Part-Time Classrooms
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos joined a call with state governors Tuesday to discuss the reopening of public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she offered a very rigid response to suggestions of creative approaches that would attempt to educate children with minimal exposure in order to reduce viral spread.
According to the Associated Press, Devos addressed ideas like distance learning and limited classroom instruction. She found neither of these acceptable, saying instead that schools must be “fully operational” when they reopen for the new school year. Specifically, she insisted that schools should be prepared to offer five days of instruction per week.
Across the nation, educators are seeking the best available balance of instruction and safety. For guidance on that aspect, DeVos left districts to fend for themselves, saying, “Schools must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders.”
However, she also criticized the urgent efforts by educators to find safe ways to finish the 2019-2020 school year. She called distance learning a disaster, and said that schools “didn’t figure out how to serve students…just gave up and didn’t try.”
Speaking on the subject Tuesday afternoon, Donald Trump also pushed for opening schools to students, saying that this is what parents and kids both want.
President Trump, VP Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump participate in a discussion on reopening schools.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 7, 2020
The CDC advised in May that fully reopening schools, with activities, full classrooms, and shared materials carries the highest level of risk, and distance learning the lowest. The in-between option they suggest is limited class sizes, a balance between online and in-person instruction, with social distancing and no shared materials.