Last week, President Trump held a summit at the White House on safely reopening schools this fall. The summit brought health and education officials, including Dr. Deborah Birx, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Local leaders from communities around the country also joined the panel.
When students are away from school, educators have a difficult time addressing essential needs and learning deficits. Sadly, there are many under-served, under-nourished and special education children who rely on their school services. Continuing to keep schools closed disproportionately hurts these children and exacerbates learning achievement gaps.
Retired Admiral William McRaven; former U.S. Navy SEAL commander, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, and chancellor of the University of Texas System recently said at the Aspen Ideas Festival that K-12 education is vital to U.S. national security. In response to being asked his number one national security concern he answered, “K-12 education…Unless we are giving opportunity and a quality education to the young men and women in the United States, then we won’t have the right people to be able to make the right decisions about our national security,” McRaven said. Continued school closures come at the cost of many students’ education and well-being and could even impact our future national security.
President Trump and Florida leaders are working to ensure that the health and safety of students, educators and faculty are a priority. The Trump administration is committed to getting students back in the classroom while continuing to provide support to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released considerations for schools on assessing the risk of class sizes, guidance on cleaning and sanitizing facilities, and how to determine safely conducting screenings, testing and contact tracing.
In recent weeks, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran have also released guidance for Florida School Districts as they look to reopen next month.
Congressman Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.