Rep. Andy Biggs, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, urged President Biden on Thursday to “follow the science” and encourage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise its guidelines so schools can reopen for in-person learning immediately.
Mr. Biggs said the CDC’s updated guideposts on school reopenings “are the outcome of political interference by public service union bosses into a process that should have been guided strictly by public health officials.”
“We urge your administration to follow the science and encourage CDC to re-evaluate their guidance and work with states to ensure in-person attendance resumes immediately,” the Arizona Republican said in a letter to Mr. Biden.
The congressman said the CDC’s benchmarks for reopening, based on community coronavirus transmission rates, are “nothing more than a lifeline to teachers’ unions” that might be resistant to sending their members back to the classroom.
Mr. Biggs said that “it defies reason and science to not have our schools fully open today” given that the administration has indicated it views teachers as a priority population for vaccines.
“Mr. President, ‘follow the science’ has become your rally cry to get our country out of the COVID-19 nightmare that is deteriorating the morale of America’s youth,” he said. “Our children and families cannot continue to suffer any longer. We urge you to live up to your word: follow the science and work with our state and local governments to reopen our schools immediately.”
Mr. Biden has said he wants to get most K-8 schools open for in-person learning by the end of his first 100 days in office.
Public health officials have said schools present a low risk of virus transmission with proper safeguards in place.
“We obviously rely on science and rely on our health experts, and we think that reflects where most of the country want[s] us to be,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday. “They want schools to reopen.”