White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain defended the teachers unions refusing to allow their members to return to the classroom, despite the fact that many teachers are eligible for the vaccine, and a federal government report proves schools can reopen safely.
During an interview with CNN, Klain was asked on Tuesday why so many public schools remain closed even after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged them to return to in-person learning.
“I’ll give you a word: money,” Klain said. “That’s why the president of the United States sent a plan to Congress even before he took office to make the investments you need to make the schools safe.”
CNN anchor Erin Burnett pushed back, arguing transmission of the virus among young students is “just not happening,” according to several studies.
“Ron, why do you think that the teachers unions in many cases are overruling what the studies show?” Burnett asked.
Klain responded: “I don’t think that teachers’ unions are overruling studies,” Klain said.
“I think that what you’re seeing that schools haven’t made the investments to keep the students safe,” he continued. “I mean, again, the Wisconsin study were classrooms of 12 on average. So that requires a lot more classrooms, a lot more teachers, or, you know, other kinds of arrangements to get them small, podding students very carefully.”
Klain then argued that the CDC’s study does not mean anything unless schools receive additional funding to implement safety precautions.
“What that study in Wisconsin from the CDC showed was, the 17 rural schools that got a sizable grant from a private foundation to put in the kinds of safety measures that they needed,” he said. “So we need to do the things to open safely.”