While Trump Continues to Put Families and Teachers at Risk, Biden Has a Plan to Open Schools Safely

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Despite knowing for six months that COVID-19 affects people of all ages, Donald Trump claimed once again during a September 21 rally that it affects virtually nobody under age 18.

This is a direct contradiction to both his own knowledge and the reality of COVID-19. And it is dangerous.

On March 19 Trump told Bob Woodward in a recorded interview that “plenty of young people” are affected by the virus. Over half a million children have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and while they are less likely to become seriously ill than older adults, data show between 1% and 3% have been hospitalized and over 100 have died. Children can also spread COVID-19 to adults and other more vulnerable individuals.

Joe Biden has been urging action to help safely reopen the economy since March, and he released a roadmap for opening schools in July. Critical to both is the first step of getting the virus under control. Biden has plans to:

  • Create a set of “basic, objective criteria” based in science to help guide local governments.
  • Implement nationwide testing and double the number of drive-through testing sites
  • Establish a solid supply chain for Personal Protective Equipment
  • Give small businesses the resources they need reopen safely, or stay closed if necessary

He also plans to increase support for schools in several ways:

  • Establishing a renewable fund for state and local governments to cope with budget shortfalls
  • Providing $58 billion for schools to help stabilize districts and save jobs
  • Passing additional emergency funding for child care providers and public schools for PPE, janitorial services, classroom modifications, and alterations to building ventilation systems to make schools safer
  • Providing funds to upgrade technology & broadband for hybrid learning
  • Providing funds to hire additional psychologists, counselors, nurses and social workers to ensure children’s physical and mental health needs are met

Had Trump acted in March to responsibly stop the virus rather that wasting an entire summer navel gazing about his approval ratings and the stock market, the nation could have been ready to open schools safely. Instead, he lied, putting parents, children and teachers in impossible situations as fall approached.

Trump is not leading. He is blustering, and bullying, and threatening those who dare defy his wishes — all at significant risk to human life. We can do better. America deserves real leadership on COVID-19 and schools.

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Fact Quotes

Americans ages 0-17 make up roughly 8.4 percent of positive Covid-19 cases in the U.S., and roughly 107 Americans ages 0-18 have died from the disease, according to CDC data.



Trump admits he wanted to play down the dangers “because I don’t want to create a panic” and acknowledges “it’s not just old people” who are susceptible to the virus.

Joe Biden on Friday called on President Trump and Congress to pass a $30 billion emergency package to give public schools the resources they need to safely adapt in order to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The move, part of a broader five-point plan for reopening schools, is another contrast Biden is trying to draw between himself and Trump, who he says has made schools’ situation “much worse” by failing to act.