While some states are close to being fully open, others are still in the early phases of reopening, but that may not matter for teachers anymore now that Trump has declared them “essential workers.”
It’s no secret that Trump wants educators and students back in the classroom as quickly as possible. In an effort to make that happen, Trump is classifying teachers as essential workers.
This new designation for teachers means teachers will be able to stay in classrooms even if they’re exposed to the coronavirus, according to Fox News.
But Vice President Mike Pence says there is “no mandate” in the decision. “When you’re declared an essential worker, it means you’re going to be prioritized for things like PPE and support,” said Pence, referring to personal protective equipment, in the interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “We want to get our kids back to school but we also want our teachers to know that we’re going to make the resources available so that their schools can be a safe environment.”
The government is also advising teachers exposed to the virus but not exhibiting symptoms to remain in the classroom. This is guidance that some states, including Tennessee, had already been following, according to a report from Forbes.
President Trump has been adamant that schools should reopen for in-person instruction this fall, warning of “greater mortality” should they permanently shutter.
But Trump hasn’t been necessarily accurate about the things he said in regard to his argument for reopening schools.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Trump asserted, incorrectly, that coronavirus would be “less than or equal to the risk of a seasonal flu” for young Americans. And don’t forget, Trump had previously claimed children were “almost immune” to the coronavirus despite the fact the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the infection rate in kids 17 and under is “steadily” increasing.
We hope that whatever decisions are made, the health and safety of students and educators is considered.