Secretary Miguel Cardona said Wednesday that schools should use federal money to host coronavirus vaccine clinics as students return to in-person classes this fall, students from returning to class full-time. “Schools should be open,” Cardona told HuffPost. “I would be very disappointed if in person.” Cardona also said states should repeal laws barring local for students and teachers, arguing mask requirements might be necessary for a safe return to school as the coronavirus pandemic continues. He declined, however, to against the coronavirus.
“Iwork,” Cardona said in a brief phone interview after delivering a speech at an elementary school in Baltimore on the administration’s plans to return children safely to school. “But I’ll leave decisions on whether or not to experts.” Republicans have intermittently hammered Democratic President over school closures due to the pandemic, often arguing his administration is more concerned with placating teachers’ unions than helping students learn. The administration is counting on a smooth return to to keep the nation’s economic recovery on track and fend off further GOP attacks.
In his speech, Cardona said school districts should use more than $130 billion in federal aid in the administration’s coronavirus relief package to encourage parents, teachers, and, including by hosting clinics. “I hard work, but we need every district, every superintendent, every leader in every community to take this on, so we can get more students and community members vaccinated and defeat this virus,” Cardona said. Cardona said holding school-based clinics would allow trusted community members to persuade vaccine skeptics to get the life-saving shot.
“When we say we wantset up in schools, it’s because people trust their school principal, they trust their school nurse, they have a relationship with those people,” he said. “And that’s how we allay those fears.” The vaccines have been shown to virtually eliminate the risk of death from the COVID-19 virus and decrease the chances of getting or spreading the disease. Roughly 70% of Americans have . Children under 12 are not eligible for any of the available vaccines.
Still, Cardona said school districts should not shy away fromwhile the nation continues its march toward higher vaccination rates. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics have in school this fall. “We cannot let mask fatigue, pride, or politics get in the way of doing what is right for our students,” he said during his . In his interview, Cardona praised Arkansas . Asa Hutchinson, who said on Tuesday he regretted signing a law earlier this that barred localities and school districts from imposing mask requirements in schools. Hutchinson has called for a special session of the to repeal the law.
At least eight states, all with Republican governors, have passed laws banning. Cardona said other and push for the repeal of those laws. “Of course,” Cardona said when asked about repealing the laws, adding that he with Hutchinson. “I consider that strong leadership in the face of a crisis, and the willingness and the ability to look at the and communities thrive.”