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Biden's follow-the-science mantra on school meets political reality ...

White HouseNearly
the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory
the National Institutes of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
the American Federation of Teachers
the White House
the White House’s
the University of Washington’s
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Joe Biden
| Evan Vucci
TYLER PAGER02/13/2021
Jen Psaki
Rich Besser
Randi Weingarten
Anthony Fauci
Rochelle Walensky
Kevin Munoz
Vin Gupta
Steve Scalise


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Super Bowl

Positivity     38.68%   
   Negativity   61.32%
The New York Times
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It’s not going to make everyone 100 percent happy all of that time, and that’s okay because the goal at the end of the day is doing what’s best for public health.”The debate over the science has complicated the White House’s school reopening push in particular, which has centered on CDC assurances that teachers don’t need to be vaccinated to return to the classroom — even as the agency warns the broader public that a series of emerging Covid variants could mean the virus is more contagious than ever before.“The fact that we’re advising double masking and minimizing having your neighbors over for Super Bowl parties — all things that are sensible — in some ways conflict with guidance to teachers, especially high-risk teachers,” said Vin Gupta, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation who served as an early adviser to the Biden team. “They’re not going to feel reassured just because you told them so, or because the data suggests it.”Biden transition officials spent weeks crafting plans for safely reopening schools based on public health best practices, including proposing a massive new Covid testing regime and hundreds of billions of dollars in funding to help retrofit classrooms and overhaul ventilation systems.The vision, outlined in Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief proposal, included modifying classrooms to allow for more distance between students and purchasing personal protective equipment, and even went as far as to suggest boosting transportation capacity to reduce the number of people riding the bus together to and from school.But despite its efforts, the team underestimated how hard it would be to sell the plan to the teachers unions that had largely backed Biden’s presidential campaign — especially without the promise of a vaccine, an adviser involved in the planning said.“We didn’t think teachers unions would be so reluctant,” the adviser said, adding that Psaki’s statement this week that reopening meant returning kids to class one day a week was far from the team’s original vision.The mixed signals have opened the administration up to criticism from multiple sides and put the White House on the defensive for one of the first times during the carefully choreographed rollout of its Covid response.“The science could not be more straightforward: schools must safely reopen their doors to students now,” Rep. Steve Scalise, the top Republican on the House’s coronavirus subcommittee said Friday, echoing a view that has gained increasing traction throughout the GOP over the past week.

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