CDC director says no revised school guidelines despite Trump's push

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not revise its guidelines for reopening schools...

Posted: Jul 9, 2020 8:04 AM
Updated: Jul 9, 2020 12:45 PM

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not revise its guidelines for reopening schools despite calls from President Donald Trump and the White House to do so, agency Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Thursday.

Instead, additional reference documents will be provided, Redfield told ABC's 'Good Morning America.'

As anxious parents and educators across the country hand wring over how to safely bring children back to the classroom, the discord between Trump and his top health advisers over appropriate precautions has added another layer of uncertainty.

The President, against the advice of some of the nation's top health officials, has repeatedly called for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

On Wednesday, while Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, warned that the country has to maintain control over the pandemic to get children back to school in the fall, Trump slammed the CDC's existing guidelines.

He tweeted they were 'very tough' and 'expensive,' while in another tweet threatened to cut off school funding if they resisted opening, though the federal government's ability to do so is limited.

The CDC guidelines for schools to reopen contain steps to keep children safe, including keeping desks to be placed six feet apart and for children to use cloth face coverings. The CDC suggests the closing of communal areas like dining rooms and playgrounds and the installation of physical barriers like sneeze guards where necessary.

In a coronavirus task force briefing later Wednesday afternoon, Redfield appeared to backpedal on the existing guidelines and said they should not be used as an excuse for not returning children to classrooms, which encourage hygiene, the use of cloth face coverings and staying home when appropriate.

'Remember, it's guidance, it's not requirements, and its purpose is to facilitate the reopening and keeping open the schools in this country,' Redfield had said.

Responding to a question on the President's tweet slamming the guidelines, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters the CDC would be issuing a new 'set of tools' next week.

'The President said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough, and that's the reason why, next week, the CDC's going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward,' Pence said.

Redfield's Thursday claim that the CDC wouldn't be changing any guidelines added to the confusion.

'Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities in trying to open K-through-12s,' Redfield said. 'It's not a revision of the guidelines; it's just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward.'

In response to comments about the guidelines being too tough or impractical, Redfield said it depends on how they are put together.

'Right now, we're continuing to work with the local jurisdictions to how they want to take the portfolio of guidance that we've given to make them practical for their schools to reopen,' he said.

A senior administration official insisted that everyone was on the same page, noting that Pence had never said the guidelines would be changed. Ahead of a White House coronavirus taskforce briefing Wednesday following the President's tweet, Redfield assured taskforce members, including Pence, that additional guidelines would be issued next week.

Earlier in the week, a senior US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official told CNN's Nick Valencia that 'schools should be the first to open and the last to close,' adding that 'kids need to physically be in school.'

The senior CDC official with knowledge of discussions also said the agency was planning to release new guidance on how best K-12 students can physically return to the classroom this year, though the exact timetable for the proposed new guidance is unclear.

The recommendation was presented internally to leaders at the CDC early last week and is 'a priority this week,' according to the senior official.

Over the weekend, senior officials at the agency presented Redfield with details on the science behind why schools should reopen, the source said.

The specifics of the guidance were not available.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61839

Reported Deaths: 1707
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19569839
Ramsey7717268
Dakota4507106
Anoka3752115
Stearns290920
Washington216345
Nobles17686
Olmsted176723
Scott159020
Mower11052
Rice10388
Blue Earth9325
Wright8975
Carver8783
Clay78840
Sherburne7328
Kandiyohi7021
St. Louis57319
Todd4292
Lyon4253
Freeborn3601
Steele3512
Nicollet34713
Watonwan3230
Benton3203
Winona26416
Beltrami2440
Crow Wing23814
Le Sueur2261
Martin2095
Chisago2041
McLeod2020
Goodhue1999
Otter Tail1983
Cottonwood1780
Becker1611
Pipestone1589
Polk1554
Waseca1490
Itasca14612
Douglas1441
Carlton1420
Unassigned13141
Dodge1290
Isanti1290
Pine1290
Murray1241
Chippewa1071
Morrison931
Wabasha930
Brown892
Faribault890
Meeker872
Rock850
Sibley842
Koochiching793
Jackson790
Pennington751
Cass742
Mille Lacs723
Fillmore670
Renville665
Lincoln580
Grant563
Swift551
Yellow Medicine520
Roseau520
Pope480
Houston420
Aitkin411
Norman400
Kanabec371
Redwood360
Hubbard350
Wilkin343
Marshall290
Wadena270
Mahnomen271
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake210
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49380

Reported Deaths: 942
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10444208
Woodbury373452
Black Hawk315766
Linn242888
Johnson211819
Dallas189835
Buena Vista179412
Scott174314
Dubuque169831
Marshall145026
Pottawattamie133228
Story117315
Wapello90533
Muscatine85148
Webster8268
Crawford7313
Sioux6433
Cerro Gordo63417
Warren5721
Tama55429
Jasper48127
Wright4751
Plymouth47011
Clinton4164
Dickinson3844
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2623
Hamilton2511
Franklin24512
Bremer2307
Clarke2043
Clay2011
Carroll1942
Emmet1934
Des Moines1872
Shelby1861
Hardin1840
Marion1750
Poweshiek1608
Benton1601
Floyd1582
Allamakee1564
Jackson1561
Mahaska14217
Guthrie1355
Cedar1341
Jones1332
Buchanan1291
Henry1274
Madison1252
Butler1252
Hancock1212
Lee1183
Humboldt1181
Pocahontas1172
Delaware1171
Lyon1152
Harrison1101
Cherokee1101
Clayton1063
Taylor1000
Winneshiek971
Iowa971
Page950
Monona910
Kossuth900
Mills890
Palo Alto880
Jefferson870
Calhoun862
Winnebago860
Sac860
Fayette850
Osceola840
Grundy801
Mitchell790
Cass791
Union781
Monroe748
Lucas734
Worth670
Davis612
Montgomery604
Chickasaw550
Appanoose513
Howard500
Fremont430
Greene430
Keokuk371
Van Buren361
Ida310
Adair300
Audubon291
Decatur250
Ringgold231
Wayne201
Adams160
Unassigned10
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