President Donald Trump made clear again on Tuesday that a full re-opening of the U.S. economy needs to include schools which are open for business as well, as he used a White House education round table to say the nation is ready to send kids back to school, even with a recent surge in Coronavirus cases in certain states.
"Everybody wants it. The moms want it. The dads want it. The kids want it," the President said.
"We want to re-open the schools," Mr. Trump added. "I want to open the schools quickly and beautifully."
The sentiment has been repeated a number of times by the President, who views schools as an important metric of how the U.S. is handling the Coronavirus outbreak.
“This is a disease that's a horrible disease, but young people do extraordinarily well,” as Mr. Trump argues that death rates clearly show children are at a much smaller risk from the virus.
President Trump, VP Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump participate in a discussion on reopening schools.— ABC News (@ABC) July 7, 2020
“We want to reopen the schools. Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It’s time to do it,” Trump says. https://t.co/Cn5N99gfYk pic.twitter.com/5rkXvDa8sx
In his remarks, the President also telegraphed that he is willing to use the bully pulpit of his office to lean on states which don't opt for fully open schools.
"They think it's going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed," the President said. "So we're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools - to get them open."
In his remarks, Mr. Trump specifically noted Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, whose administration ordered schools on Monday to be open for in-person instruction at least five days every week in the new school year.
"Schools should open only after local school districts decide it’s safe for students, staff and teachers to return," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who called the Governor's move 'reckless.'
Trump: "Governor DeSantis, he's doing a terrific job, he just announced that the schools will be open in the fall. We hope that most schools are going to be open." pic.twitter.com/K0IssN5Oej— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) July 7, 2020
The push to re-open schools seems almost certain to result in a clash between local governments and teachers - as well as the unions representing teachers.
"Everyone wants to see schools reopen, but they must reopen safely," the Texas State Teachers Association said on Tuesday.
"I don’t disagree with the sentiment that the goal should be to have kids on campus," said Fedrick Ingram, the head of the Florida Education Association, a teachers union.
"But hope isn't a goal," Ingram added.