On Wednesday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that vaccinating teachers is “not a prerequisite” for schools to reopen safely, amid increasing calls from parents to return their children to in-person learning.
This also comes as teacher’s unions in multiple states have aggressively pushed back against reopening schools until teachers get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters during a White House press briefing regarding the coronavirus.
“Vaccinations of teachers is not a prerequisite for safely reopening schools,” she added.
In the past, Walensky has expressed that schools should be the first to open and the last to close during the pandemic.
Back in December, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to put “frontline essential workers”—including teachers—to next receive the coronavirus vaccine after first placing healthcare workers and those in nursing homes ahead of everyone else, per CNBC. Despite this, it might be a while until a majority of teachers receive their doses as the U.S. tries to speed up its vaccine rollout.
Last week, the CDC released a study in which it found scant evidence of the virus spreading at schools domestically and overseas when mask-wearing, social distancing, ventilating rooms were implemented.
In several states, teachers unions have been pushing back against reopening schools.
Notably, in California, teachers unions have said they that won’t send their members into an unsafe environment and that they want all teachers vaccinated before returning to the classroom, according to KTLA 5. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) told school officials to “pack it up” if they fail to resume in-person classes soon.
In the state of Illinois, too, Chicago teachers are refusing to teach in person until they have received the vaccine, according to NBC News.
In Boston as well, teachers have made a similar push against reopening until they receive the vaccine, according to Boston.com.
Moreover, the Biden administration has published a COVID-19 rescue plan that includes providing schools and colleges with $170 billion to help them reopen, with some of that money going toward testing.
Jeff Zients, President Joe Biden’s coronavirus chief, said Wednesday that the president has been “very clear” that he wants schools to “reopen and to stay open.”
“That means every school has the equipment and the resources to open safely,” he said at the press briefing, calling on Congress to “do its part” by passing Biden’s coronavirus plan.
“Not just private schools or schools in wealthy areas but all schools,” Zients emphasized.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Biden’s Email Controversy Deepens: A Saga of Aliases, Whistleblowers, and Shadowy Communications
In a bombshell revelation, new records released by the House Ways & Means Committee expose a labyrinth of email aliases and private addresses used by then-Vice President Joe Biden to communicate with his son Hunter and key business associates, according to metadata obtained from IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler.
Furthermore, according to reports from Fox News, the data, covering the span of nine years from 2010 to 2019, reveals an astonishing 327 exchanges between Biden and his son, notably during Biden’s tenure as vice president.
The majority of these clandestine communications were exclusively with Eric Schwerin, a pivotal figure described as “the architect of the Biden family’s shell companies.” The emails were conducted using aliases such as “robinware456,” “JRBware,” and “RobertLPeters.” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer had previously hinted at the existence of Biden’s email aliases earlier this year.
According to reports, the whistleblowers, still actively employed as IRS investigators, ran a search for Biden’s email aliases in their existing files, revealing the 327 exchanges with Hunter Biden and Schwerin. The metadata access, however, falls short of scrutinizing email content, requiring a search warrant for deeper investigation.
Schwerin, former president of Hunter’s Rosemont Seneca Advisors, has found himself under the spotlight. In a March 2023 meeting with the House Oversight Committee, Schwerin claimed he was unaware of any transactions related to Biden family business in the then-Vice President’s bank account.
This assertion aligns with the White House narrative, pushing back against Republican scrutiny and an impeachment inquiry.
Amidst the rising scrutiny, House Oversight Committee Chairman Comer has subpoenaed Schwerin for a deposition on Nov. 9, indicating a deepening probe into the financial intricacies of the Biden family.
The data also reveals a spike in emails between Biden and Schwerin during the vice president’s travels to Ukraine, a period significantly coinciding with Hunter Biden’s board membership at Burisma Holdings.
The information underscores the increased communication between the two during crucial junctures, raising questions about the nature of their discussions and the potential intersection of official government business with family interests.
Ways & Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, spearheading the impeachment inquiry against President Biden, asserts that the evidence points to Joe Biden’s use of private email accounts with aliases while conducting official duties on international trips.
The broader investigation by Smith, alongside House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and House Oversight Committee Chairman Comer, delves into foreign money received by the Biden family and whether President Biden was involved in their foreign business dealings.
As the House intensifies its scrutiny, Hunter Biden’s scheduled deposition on Dec. 13 promises further revelations, with House Republicans pledging transparency by releasing the transcript and advocating for a public hearing. The saga of Biden’s emails unfolds against a backdrop of denial from the White House and Justice Department officials, creating a complex narrative.
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