CDC Director Says Agency Won’t Bend to Pressure on School Reopening Guidelines

Dr. Robert Redfield
CDC Director Robert R. Redfield says the agency won't revise its guidelines for reopening schools despite calls from the White House to do so.

Amid pressure from the government to reopen schools in fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday it won’t revise its earlier guidelines for communities trying to open K-12 schools.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said it won’t bend to pressure from the White House. Instead of changing their guidelines, he said they will send additional reference documents to help communities pushing to resume classes. 

“It’s not a revision of the guidelines; it’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward,” Redfield said.

Earlier, President Donald Trump said he will pressure governors to open state schools. He said reopening schools is “one of the keys to restarting the economy and getting the country back to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy.”

Tump dismissed the CDC’s guidelines as “very tough and expensive.” Later, the President, through the Department of Education, threatened to cut off school funding.

Current CDC guidelines for school reopening outline elaborate steps to safeguard the health of school children.

These guidelines include desks placed six feet apart and for children to face in the same direction. Students are also advised to use cloth face coverings. 

Moreover, the  CDC said common areas like dining rooms and playgrounds should remain closed. At the same time, the agency suggested the installation of physical barriers like sneeze guards. 

The CDC maintains the highest risk of Covid-19 transmission could come with full-size classes, a lack of social distancing, and with children mixing between lessons.