A Teacher and Congresswoman Confronts School Reopenings

Your son’s school is opening?

They’re doing a hybrid model, they’re giving parents the option. They had a meeting last night, and people are very nervous. They said that parents can change over time as they become more comfortable.

I just need more information before I put my child in that situation. As a member of the House, I have colleagues who refuse to follow the C.D.C. guidance, and they’re adults. To expect that children will follow these guidelines when we see that adults refuse to?

You’ve said a national strategy needs to be in place before it is safe to have schools reopen.

If we had a national strategy where it was understood that wearing a mask was a best practice and if you needed to be tested you could be tested and there was contact tracing, we could pinpoint these outbreaks or these hot spots. There is very little confidence because we keep seeing the guidelines change, different districts are handling it differently, different communities are handling it differently. In some places around the country, even though it’s a hot spot, you see leaders insist that schools open and kids go back.

That does not instill confidence. If you’re telling people, “We’re doing what’s best for you and were following the guidelines,” and they say, “Yeah, but I’m watching the news every night and I see the spikes and I see that we don’t have the federal funding,” and the answer is, “We’re still going back,” that is deeply concerning to me.

Do you think it’s possible to safely reopen schools while Donald Trump is the president?

I hope so. We all want our kids back in school, and it’s unfortunate that this has been politicized because this should be something we can all agree on.

I would support the president in any measure to safely reopen schools. What I cannot support is this idea that absent the science, absent the data, absent all of the consultation of the experts in this field, we are reopening schools because this is meant to hurt a political campaign. I can’t support that.