WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday launched an all-out effort to reopen schools this fall, arguing that some are keeping schools closed not because of the coronavirus pandemic, but for political reasons against the will of families.
“We want to reopen the schools. Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It’s time to do it,” Trump said at a White House event. “We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”
Trump did not immediately explain how he would pressure governors, but he repeated an earlier claim that Democrats want to keep schools closed for political reasons and not health reasons.
He made the same claim Monday on Twitter, saying, “They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!”
At a White House roundtable hosted by Trump, speaker after speaker addressed the need to get students back in the classroom, both for academic and mental health reasons.
They minimized the risk of the spread of COVID-19 among children but acknowledged that it was important to protect the vulnerable.
In making its case, the Trump administration has argued that keeping students at home carries greater risks than any tied to the coronavirus.
Health officials say students need to be in schools this fall to continue their educational development and to access meal programs and services for mental and behavioral health.