President Joe Biden faced a question from concerned teacher Justin Belot at a CNN town hall event on Tuseday about the coronavirus and sending students back to school.
QUESTION: Wonderful. Thank you, Mr. President. So along the same lines as schools, so it’s a great debate on when to transition into in-person learning. While there are numerous warnings not to be in large groups or to have dinner parties or small parties, why is it OK to put students and teachers in close proximity to each other for an entire day, day after day?
With large class sizes and outdated ventilation systems, how and when do you propose this to occur? And finally, do you believe all staff should be vaccinated before doing so?
BIDEN: Number one, nobody is suggesting, including the CDC in its recent report, that you have large classes, congested classes. It’s smaller classes, more ventilation, making sure that everybody has a mask and is socially-distanced, meaning you have less, fewer students in one room. Making sure that everyone from the sanitation workers who work in the lavatories, in the bathrooms and to do all the maintenance, that they are in fact able to be protected as well.
Making sure you are in a situation where you don’t have the congregation of a lot of people, as I said, including the school bus, including getting on a school bus. So it’s about needing to be able to socially distance, smaller classes, more protection. And I think that teachers and the folks who work in the school, the cafeteria worker and other should be on the list of preferred to get a vaccination.