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In a Townhall in Milwaukee, Wisc. on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden again reversed course on school reopenings, saying that what his Press Secretary Jen Psaki said about schools opening for in-person learning "at least one day a week" was a misunderstanding.
"That's what was reported, that's not true," Biden said. "It was a mistake in the communication. What I'm talking about, I said opening the majority of school in K-8th grade, because they are the easiest to open, the most needed to be open in terms of the impact on children and families having to stay home—"
"So when do you think that would be, K-8, five days a week," Cooper interrupted.
"I think we'll be close to that at the end of the first 100 days. We've had a significant percentage of them being able to be opened. My guess is there's probably going to push to open all summer, like it's a different semester."
Biden took questions from a parent of four, who asked when kids were going to be back in schools. The questioner, Kevin Michael, who was introduced by Anderson Cooper as an independent, had concerns over the now year-long disruption in proper schooling and wanted to know "the plan to get students back into brick and mortar buildings?"
After giving a blessing from his mother, Biden spoke briefly about the detrimental effects on the lack of schooling for America's kids.
"What we found out is there's certain things that make it rational to go back to a brick and mortar building," Biden said, bringing up face masks as necessary, which is something schools already require.
Biden said that smaller class sizes should be in place, and more teachers should be hired to man these smaller classes. He said that the smaller classes should be "10 kids each," but then said he was making that number up.
Biden said that kids in grades K-8 should go back to school, but that it's "harder" to get high schools open without a rehaul of school ventilation systems. He also said that there's problems with school busses, and called for teachers "to be moved up in the hierarchy" for vaccines.
He also took a question from a teacher, who stated his belief that schools all need new ventilation systems before they can be opened.
Biden referenced the CDC's report that there should be "smaller classes, more ventilation, making sure that everybody has masks and is socially distanced, and you have less, fewer students in one room."
Biden listed those who should wear masks in and around the school buildings, and that there should not be "alot of congregation, and that includes getting on a school bus."
"It's about needing to be able to socially distance, smaller classes, more protection, and I think that teachers and the folks that work in the school, the cafeteria workers, and others, should be on the list of preferred to get a vaccination."
The CDC recommended that teachers do not have to be vaccinated for schools to reopen. Biden has also touted his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which has some $130 billion earmarked for schools. This money, his administration has said, is necessary for schools to reopen.
Florida schools have been open since August, and Governor Ron De Santis said "And yet, we're 34th our of 50 states and DC for COVID-19 cases on a per capita basis for children. 33 states have more cases per capita than Florida for children, and many of those don't have a lot of in-person instruction in school."
"It does not require another hundred billion dollars," De Santis said. "The school reopening plan that makes the most sense, if you want to open schools, open them. Open the door. Let them come in and learn."