THE US Surgeon General has broken with the Trump administration about reopening schools, saying a return to classrooms should wait until the COVID-19 transmission rate drops.
Dr Jerome Adams on Tuesday shared his views on CBS This Morning, 10 days after Trump threatened to withhold federal funding to schools if they don’t reopen in the fall.
“What I want people to know is the biggest determinant of whether or not we can go back to school actually has little to nothing to do with the actual schools — it’s your background transmission rate," Adams said.
He added that “folks need to wear face coverings, folks need to practice social distancing,” if they want to go back to school, places of worship and regular life in general.
“Those public health measures are actually what's going to lower the transmission rate,” he said.
Adams acknowledged that young students are a low risk for coronavirus, but said they could put teachers and adults in danger when the transmission rate is high.
"We know the risk is low to the actual students, but we know they can transmit to others,” Adams said.
“We need to take measures to make sure we protect those who are vulnerable either because they are older or they have chronic medical conditions.”
The surgeon general’s cautious approach runs counter to Trump’s push to have schools return to normal.
On July 10, Trump tweeted that “virtual Learning has proven to be TERRIBLE compared to In School, or On Campus, Learning,” and threatened yet again to cut funding.
“Schools must be open in the Fall,” the president added.
“If not open, why would the Federal Government give Funding? It won’t!!!”
Just days prior, Trump criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s school reopening guidelines as “very tough and expensive.”
Last week, the CDC postponed the release of its school reopening guidance documents to the end of July.
Trump has also slammed the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, who said the US is “still knee-deep in the first wave” of the coronavirus.
The surgeon general’s remarks come a day after Missouri Governor Mike Parson said that children “have got to go back to school” given they are “at the lowest risk possible.”
“If they do get COVID-19, which they will—and they will when they go to school—they're not going to the hospitals,” Parson said.
"They're not going to have to sit in doctor's offices. They're going to go home and they're going to get over it.”
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