President Trump, First Lady discuss reopening schools amid coronavirus

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR/AP) — According to the Trump administration, the White House will continue its push to reopen schools across the U.S. despite a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to speak at a White House event later Tuesday to press his case for reopening schools.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday assailed plans by some local districts to offer in-person instruction only a few days a week and said schools must be “fully operational” even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Anything less, she said, would fail students and taxpayers.

DeVos made the comments during a call with governors as the Trump administration launched an all-out effort to get schools and colleges to reopen. Audio of the call was obtained by The Associated Press.

“Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how. School must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders,” DeVos told the governors.

The president has insisted that schools and colleges return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. He said Monday on Twitter that Democrats want to keep schools closed “for political reasons, not for health reasons.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out guidance for schools last month, including staggering schedules, spreading out desks, having meals in classrooms instead of the cafeteria, adding physical barriers between bathroom sinks and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

Alan Suderman at the Associated Press contributed to this report

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