July 8, 2020

So now Trump is going to bully state governors into reopening the schools -- without paying for adequate preparation. New Day's Alysin Camerota asked Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, if public schools are really ready to reopen in September.

"Did you hear the word he didn't use? 'Safely.' Safely. There's no one that wants their kids back with us more than teachers," Garcia said.

"Maybe their parent. Maybe their parents beat us out there, but we want to open it safely. We see what happens when they let bars open prematurely and you saw those young adults in there in that nice little bar and they went home and they infected everybody around them. This isn't a bar. We're talking about second graders. I had 39 sixth graders one year in my class.

"I double dog dare Donald Trump to sit in a class of 39 sixth graders and breathe that air without any preparation for how we're going to bring our kids back safely."

"What you're saying is that the NEA is insisting on these benchmarks before you can open schools. You would have to equip schools with PPE. Meaning, the protective gear for teachers, et cetera. Deep clean schools using CDC-approved disinfectants. Classrooms should accommodate six feet of physical separation between students. A class of 39, I'm not sure how you do that. Install hand washing stations, hand sanitizer stations, and have more trained staff in trauma and emotional health for when the kids go back after all of this," Camerota said. She asked who would pay for all of this.

"One of the things that we know is that when Shake Shack needed some money, the Congress joined hands, sang kumbaya and threw money at businesses so they wouldn't have to lay people off," Garcia replied.

"There is a bill sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk right now called the HEROES Act, passed by the House, that has billions of dollars dedicated to schools right now, so we could do this right. Donald Trump said 'dead on arrival.' He didn't have a plan and by the way, all of the funding sources for public schools, the tax base has fallen off a cliff. so we're not even talking about having what we had last year."

"What do you say to parents who say, 'I would be willing to take the risk of not having my kids be 6 feet apart so they could get back into school and I could go back to work and save our family's finances?' " Camerota said.

"So let's not have false choices here. We have an unsafe school. Do we keep it closed? Do we open an unsafe school? No, you make it safe! And then you say, well, what if Mitch MccConnell doesn't want to give you the money? What if Donald Trump isn't going to sign a bill? Then parents right now should be sending e-mails, phone calls. They should be closing down the White House operators, just saying, 'Come on! You're saying that you could do this safely, but you don't want to? Why wouldn't you want to open a school safely?"

My grandson starts kindergarten this year. You can be damned sure I'll be doing all of the above, and you should, too.


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