“My focus really now is to open so many schools (from preschool to eight schools) in the first 100 days, but also to try to open those high schools so that we can get all the students back safely and attractively with their friends and learning to ‘classroom, where they learn best,’ Cardona told NBC News’ Lester Holt in an interview.
“We need to make sure that through this American rescue plan we use these resources to provide intervention and support, not only with academic needs, but much more importantly, with the social and emotional needs that our students will reach. school, “Cardona said.
Cardona said Wednesday that he did not plan to force vaccinations for teachers to reopen schools, but stressed that “prioritizing vaccinations will only help that.”
“My experience was when schools had to close, it wasn’t because Covid spread to schools, it was because we had to quarantine educators, we had to quarantine teachers,” he told NBC . “Having the vaccine will help us keep the doors open – it’s not just about opening schools, it’s about making sure they’re open.”
Earlier Wednesday, Cardona declined to say whether the Biden administration would order vaccinating teachers who would return to work at some point, and told reporters in the newsroom: “At this time, vaccination is available for educators “.
“I am proud that the president is giving priority to vaccinating educators, because we know that when this is not the case, schools are more likely to close because of quarantine,” he added.
Walensky said earlier Wednesday that the CDC plans to issue new guidelines that allow for less social distancing in schools. He said the agency is studying studies indicating that the 3-foot physical distance is enough to keep students and teachers safe in school.
Cardona said at the briefing that if the CDC updates its guidelines to allow for less social distancing in schools, it would potentially get more students into classrooms.
“If it reaches 3 feet, it will provide more opportunities, possibly, for students to enter our schools, which is the goal,” Cardona told reporters.
CNN’s Katie Lobosco and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.
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