As the CDC politicizes school reopenings, local health officials use their authority to delay start dates

Texas AFT is quite clear on what it will take to reopen schools safely, with one metric of many being a 14-day decline in local COVID-19 cases. Today the CDC released a new statement to add to its reopening guidelines, and it amounts to a public relations pitch to get as many kids back into the classrooms as soon as possible. The CDC is basing it’s push on an agenda from the White House and dubious assertions on how kids are at minimum risk, both for themselves and their teachers and families.

In a news release this morning, Texas AFT President Zeph Capo unwrapped what’s really going on:

Amazing, isn’t it, how in two-weeks time the CDC can go from an internal document noting the high risk of school reopenings to now saying it’s perfectly safe to push millions of kids back into classrooms.

These guidelines have gone to the White House gift wrapper and are now an insulting, politically-packaged campaign piece. We’ll take one guideline to heart, because it’s what we’ve done all along with no national leadership: “working closely with local health officials to make decisions on whether to maintain school operations.”

Meanwhile, Harris County–home to Houston ISD and several other large districts–today joined four other major urban counties (Travis, Tarrant, Dallas, and El Paso) in mandating no on-site instruction until at least September 8. As the news changes daily, we strongly suggest you follow us on Facebook to learn how you can stand up and ensure your local district if following a safe path.

In addition to reversing the Texas COVID-19 spike, we know it’s also going to take a significant investment in federal funds–billions of dollars to Texas schools that would arrive with passage of the HEROES Act–to safely reopen. We’re making a final push at squabbling Senators to get this done and also pass the Childcare is Essential Act. Send your online letter now to our U.S. senators urging passage.