The earlier documents had been issued in mid-May and at least some of those have been retained in a place of prominence on the guideline’s new landing page. This includes advice on how to prepare schools for a return of students. The document describes normal school activities as “highest risk,” in contrast with remote education, which falls in the “lowest risk” category. This also includes advice that probably falls in the “very tough and expensive” category that the president was unhappy with, such as modifying classroom layouts to allow greater distancing, installing physical barriers, and extensive cleaning and disinfecting.

But newer documents, such as one directed at school administrators, have a clear change in emphasis. It still has a heavy dose of best practices, like wearing face masks, enabling social distancing for students, and extensive disinfection. But there are now large sections about the “Critical Role of Schools,” which indicates that “[t]he unique and critical role that schools play makes them a priority for opening and remaining open, enabling students to receive both academic instruction and support as well as critical services.”

If that weren’t enough, further down in the document, there’s a section entitled “Why is it Important to Open Schools for In-Person Instruction?” That’s followed by “Schools play a critical role in supporting the whole child, not just the academic achievement of students.” All told, about a quarter of the 5,000 word document is spent on text that promotes the importance of opening schools for in-person instruction.