President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday his disagreement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for safely reopening schools, calling the recommendations 'very tough' and 'expensive.'
He also threatened he 'may cut off funding' to schools that do not reopen, though the bulk of public school funding comes from state and local governments.
'I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!' the President tweeted.
The CDC's guidelines encourage hygiene, the use of cloth face coverings, and staying home when appropriate. It also suggests staggered scheduling, a back-up staffing plan, modified seating layouts to allow social distancing, physical barriers and closing of communal spaces.
Trump, who has advocated for reopening states amid surging coronavirus cases, said Tuesday he would pressure governors to reopen schools this fall during a discussion with educators, administrators, students and parents.
'We hope that most schools are going to be open,' Trump said at a White House event, baselessly claiming that some places will want to stay closed 'for political reasons.'
'They think it's going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,' the President alleged without evidence. 'No way.'
'We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,' said Trump, who has been anxious to reopen America to kick-start the economy and otherwise move on from the pandemic, despite its resurgence.
Most funding for America's schools comes from the state and local level -- over 90%, according to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, but schools do get some targeted funding from the Department of Education. That federal funding often affects the nation's most vulnerable students.
But educators and administrators have called on the federal government to supplement funding for personal protective equipment and other resources, such as additional school buses, to reconfigure classrooms in order to safely reopen.
Republicans in the Senate are planning to unveil a stimulus bill that includes federal spending to reopen schools and childcare facilities. Democrats have also included proposals to get schools reopened in their stimulus proposals.
He told Nextstar in an interview Tuesday that he had time to consider school reopening.
'Well, we have a long time to think about the school stuff. Because, you know. But we want to have the schools open,' Trump said. 'I would say that when we talk about the fall, that seems like a long time. It's a long time.'
But many school districts in the South, where coronavirus cases are rising, begin the school year in just a few short weeks.
And while the President is hopeful the pandemic will improve over the next month, a trusted model from the University of Washington is forecasting an uptick in deaths this fall and increased its death toll projection to over 208,000 deaths by November.