Harris: We're following the science on school reopenings except when teachers unions reject it, or something

The New York Post calls this a “fumble,” but it’s more of a punt — the same punt that the Biden administration has made ever since taking office on this point. When Joe Biden prepared in the transition, he claimed that he would have schools reopened safely in the first 100 days — a claim he made without checking with his constituents in the teachers unions. Despite the CDC’s assurance that schools can safely reopen with just a modicum of preparations, the unions are refusing to do so — even when teachers get priority on vaccinations. Ever since, the Biden administration keeps changing the goalposts on what reopening means, as Jazz detailed so well this morning.

With that kind of playbook from the head coach, it’s no wonder the rest of the team looks like its only play is a double reverse. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie makes Kamala Harris squirm a bit by pointing all this out on Today, but Harris doesn’t have much choice here but to carry Biden’s water and to run out the clock on Guthrie:

Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly dodged questions about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on school re-openings under the Biden administration in a Wednesday morning interview.

Speaking to NBC’s “Today” show, Harris was pressed continually on the CDC’s guidance released last week on their phased re-opening of schools, specifically on the point that teachers are not required to be vaccinated.

Asked if it was a mistake that the guidance would keep 90 percent of schools closed for in-person learning, Harris would only say that it was the administration’s priority to get schools’ doors open. …

Pressed by Guthrie if unvaccinated teachers should feel safe returning to the classroom, Harris replied, “Well, I think that we have to decide if we can put in place safe measures. This is why it’s so important we pass the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan, which the president and I have proposed, is a plan about getting our schools back open.”

When Guthrie asked Harris to simply address the issue of teachers being wary of exposure if they aren’t yet vaccinated, the vice president repeated her assertion that the administration thinks teachers “should be a priority.”

What does all this mean for the students and their parents? The only reliable outcome is that this White House will continue offering double-talk on school reopenings — over which it has little control anyway. Once again, Biden and his team raised expectations on outcomes that they don’t have much power to achieve. Their CDC can explain to exhaustion that the science shows schools can reopen, but unless school boards and states force teachers unions to abide by it, the White House has no jurisdiction over it.

Why make the promise in the first place? That’s the real fumble, and the only answer is that Biden and Harris apparently planned to take credit for something they didn’t do. They must have assumed that the unions would follow the CDC under a Democratic administration, which was a big mistake, or that vaccinations would solve the issue, which was another big mistake. Now they’re left holding the bag by the unions — or in football terms, the unions didn’t follow the Biden/Harris playbook and aren’t blocking for the White House as expected. Now Harris and Biden are calling audibles, and it turns out that the media isn’t following their playbook either, at least at the moment.

In football terms, the Biden/Harris team looks like the New York Jets, circa Mark Sanchez and the … you know