DONALD Trump has said that $105billion of funding should go to students and their families – about $1,200 each – if their schools cannot reopen due to coronavirus.
The president said that the cash should “follow the student” during a press briefing at the White House on Thursday.
“We’re asking Congress to provide $105billion to schools as part of the next coronavirus relief bill,” he said.
“This funding will support mitigation measures such as smaller class sizes, more teachers and teacher aides, repurposing spaces to practice social distancing and crucially mask-wearing.”
However, the president insisted that the cash will go directly to the students if schools are not reopened for the coming school year.
“If schools do not reopen the funding should go to parents to send their child to public, private, charter, religious or home school of their choice, the keyword being choice.
“If the school is closed the money should follow the student so the parents and family are in control of their own decisions, so we’d like the money to go to the parent of the student.”
“We cannot indefinitely stop 50 million children from going to school,” he said. “Reopening our schools is also critical to ensuring parents can go to work and provide for their families.”
The president’s comments come just one day after he said he’s comfortable sending his youngest son Barron and ten grandkids back to school this fall amid the coronavirus crisis.
On Tuesday, Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams said schools shouldn’t reopen until the transmission rate drops – after Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from them if they remain closed.
Adams acknowledged that young students are a low risk for coronavirus, but said they could put teachers and adults in danger when the transmission rate is high.
“We know the risk is low to the actual students, but we know they can transmit to others,” Adams said.
“We need to take measures to make sure we protect those who are vulnerable either because they are older or they have chronic medical conditions.”
In a statement released by the CDC on Thursday, it said: “Parents are understandably concerned about the safety of their children at school in the wake of COVID-19.
“The best available evidence indicates if children become infected, they are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms.
“Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults.
“At the same time, the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant.
“Further, the lack of in-person educational options disproportionately harms low-income and minority children and those living with disabilities.”