US education secretary warns of ‘bumps in the road’ as schools reopen amid Covid surge


By Kevin Liptak, CNN

There can be “bumps in the road” as schools try and reopen in the new yr amid a document surge in Covid-19 circumstances, US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona mentioned Sunday.

Cardona, talking on Fox News Sunday, mentioned the Biden administration aim stays that every one schools open for in-person studying full-time. But he acknowledged a spike in infections amongst academics and different classroom personnel may trigger disruptions to the plan as college students return to highschool after the holidays.

He mentioned faculty district leaders round the nation have been already confronting a big quantity of employees unavailable to work when faculty resumes Monday.

“Our expectation is for schools to be open full-time for students for in person learning,” Cardona mentioned, noting the science has improved almost two years into the pandemic and vaccines can be found for school-aged youngsters.

“We recognize there may be some bumps in the road, especially this upcoming week when superintendents, who are working really hard across the country, are getting calls saying that some of their schools may have 5-10% of their staff not available,” he went on.

“Any decisions on very short-term or emergency closures are most likely based off of staffing issues, and ultimately those are safety issues when you don’t have adequate staff, but the goal is full time in-person learning for our students — they’ve suffered enough,” Cardona mentioned.

Schools must be creating a testing technique that may permit them to stay open amid the present surge, Cardona mentioned. President Joe Biden has beforehand endorsed the “test-to-stay” apply that enables college students uncovered to Covid to keep away from quarantine after receiving a destructive check.

Yet assessments stay scarce in many elements of the nation, even as Biden works to ramp up provide. Cardona mentioned schools ought to use testing as half of a broader mitigation technique, together with rising vaccinations and adhering to different public well being tips.

“There’s a level of urgency that we shouldn’t lose around making sure that our children learn in person,” Cardona mentioned. “The impact of hybrid learning, the impact of remote learning, is very real for us parents who have had to experience it at home as well. So we need to do everything in our power, which includes getting access to those tests.”

Some faculty districts have already introduced plans to maneuver to digital studying, together with 5 metro Atlanta faculty techniques.

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