Signs demanding public schools to open for in-person instruction are popping up in front yards all over suburban Northern Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Teachers unions, staunch Democratic allies, are resisting a return to campus despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. As the pandemic rounds the corner on Year One, frustrated parents are losing their patience, particularly in suburbs that backed Biden over former President Donald Trump in November.

Republicans are moving to make the Democrats pay in a crucial gubernatorial election this year in Virginia; in a possible special election to recall California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom; and in campaigns to recapture the House and Senate in midterm elections in 2022. The effort launched with coordinated attacks on Biden, charging that he sided with teachers unions and abandoned a campaign promise to reopen public schools in his first 100 days.

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, mentioned the topic repeatedly Wednesday during a video news conference with reporters. Democrats, he said, “want to talk about anything but the issues of the day. For instance, opening our schools and getting our kids back to school,” adding later in the discussion that “the issue is getting our kids back in school.”