Dr. Birx addresses how schools can open safely, mixed messages from White House

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Schools districts continue to work on how to get kids back in the classroom safely, as cases of COVID-19 soar across the U.S.

Dr. Deborah Birx spoke Thursday about how schools can re-open safely and the mixed messages coming from the White House.

“It is confusing for parents and school administrators,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, who serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Birx hopes new guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) will ease some of that confusion.

“So there’s a lot of factors that have to come in,” she said.

The CDC’s decision to put out new guidelines comes just days after President Donald Trump complained about the CDC’s original plans.

“Well, I think the CDC guidance is very clear, what we’re trying to really meld that with is understanding and showing where the public health tripwires are,” Birx said.

Birx said it’s important for school districts to make decisions based on where the virus is spreading.

“Cities and counties and states are all experiencing COVID differently,” she said.

But earlier this week, Trump made no such distinction.

“…but we’re very much going to continue to put pressure on governors and everyone else to open the schools,” the president said.

Birx also said it’s important for every school district to have a plan in place for what to do when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

“They need to know what they’re going to do when they find one case, when they find five cases,” she said.

Birx said more than 47 states already have county-level plans in place to get kids back to school and expects the new CDC guidelines to come out soon.

“To really provide a road map for parents, educators and school administrators,” she said.

The president has threatened to cut off money for schools that don’t open up, but the White House has not said what specific funding that would be.

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