July 9, 2020
CDC Won't Change School Reopening Guidelines Despite Trump Administration Criticism

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield told Good Morning America on Thursday that his agency will not change the guidelines it issued for reopening schools in the fall, despite criticism from the Trump administration.

On Wednesday, Trump publicly took exception to the CDC's reopening guidelines, calling them "tough" and "expensive."

Hours later, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would issue new guidance on reopening schools next week. However, Redfield seemed to contradict that statement during his interview on Thursday.

Redfield conceded that his agency will be providing additional "reference documents" in the future, but stated that those are simply intended to "help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward" by way of providing additional information.

"It's not a revision of the guidelines," he said.

He also noted that the guidelines are just that: guidelines. He described them as "intentionally non-prescriptive," and noted that they included a range of options that allow schools to decide what works best for them.

"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.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: CDC Director Robert Redfield attends an event with students, teachers and administrators about how to safely re-open schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic in the East Room at the White House July 07, 2020 in Washington, DC. As the number of COVID-19 cases surge across southern states like Florida, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arizona, Trump joined with guests from across the country to discuss how to responsibly return to the classroom. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla

Redfield also promised to work closely with school administrators across the country to come up with a plan to reopen their schools in the fall, adding that he would be "personally saddened" if any school district cited the CDC guidelines as a reason not to reopen.

"It's a critical public health initiative right now to get these schools reopened and to do it safely," Redfield said.

The guidelines in question, per the CDC, include the disclaimer that schools are allowed to use whichever suggestions work best for them.

"Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations."
The guidelines include encouraging students and employees to stay home whenever they're sick, teaching and reinforcing frequent hand-washing, encouraging students and teachers to wear masks, and discouraging the use of shared objects, among other recommendations.

Meanwhile, the subject of whether or not schools will reopen in the fall is, in some contexts, being treated as a matter of life or death.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, some teachers in Florida are so concerned about the possibility of having to be sent back to work in closed rooms with dozens of children that they're researching how to preemptively make end-of-life decisions, such as signing living wills.