The president is saying explicitly that kids in unmasked environments are unsafe. That would mean every student in Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Iowa, Tennessee, and Georgia, for starters, plus most in “the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy.” Aside from the factual unlikelihood, what kind of message does that convey to parents nervous about sending their kids back into school buildings?
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has been saying for months that he “fear[s]” a continuation of remote learning, that “we’re going to do everything in our power” to avoid it, because “We know there’s no substitute for in-person learning. We know there’s no substitute for that social interaction that our little ones need.” And now his boss is telling parents not only that their kids are in jeopardy, but that the people in charge of K-12 policy in some states “are doing everything they can to undermine the public health requirements that keep people safe.”
There is something extra rich about Biden and Cardona accusing Republicans of elevating political concerns over the well-being of kids. One of the main reasons why certain Democratic-run school districts, cities, states, and now the federal government have enacted some of the world’s most restrictive and inflexible school-reopening policies is that A) teachers unions have far more clout in the United States than, say, France, and B) those same teachers unions overwhelmingly have pull with Democratic politicians, who are recipients of 94 percent of their political donations.