Adm. Brett Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health who also leads the administration’s coronavirus testing efforts, on Sunday seemingly pushed back against President Donald Trump’s recent criticism of the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines for reopening schools this fall.
Last week, amid his aggressive pressure campaign to force all local school districts to fully reopen this fall despite a massive surge in coronavirus cases, President Donald Trump complained that the CDC’s guidance on safely reopening schools was “very tough” and “expensive.”
Despite Vice President Mike Pence suggesting new recommendations would be issued in the following days, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield contradicted the White House, noting that while there would be “additional reference documents” those documents “are not a revision of the guidelines.”
“Everyone wants to see kids back in school in the fall, but the big question is, how to do it safely,” ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Giroir on Sunday morning. “The president said he thinks the CDC guidelines are too tough and too expensive. Do you share that concern?”
“I think the CDC guidelines are really right on target,” the White House coronavirus task force member replied. “And we all, you know, the CDC guidelines, we all work on it together. All the docs on the agency. And we feel they’re pretty strong.”
While Giroir said that children missing classes does risk their “social and emotional health” and that it is important to get kids “physically back in school,” they need to “get the virus under the control” before that can happen.
“When we get the virus more under control, then we can think about how we put children back in the classroom,” he said.
“It’s a health reason to get them back in school, but it’s got to be done carefully,” the public health expert concluded. “The CDC guidelines are good. The guidelines aren’t changing this week. These are guidelines that are amenable to school districts actually implementing them.”