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'The Trump administration has done nothing' to help schools amid pandemic: AFT president

Reggie Wade
·Writer
·2 min read

As COVID-19 cases rise across the U.S., school districts are contemplating whether or not to shut down schools and shift to remote learning. The debate over in-person vs. remote learning has been one of the most contentious topics of the pandemic. Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president joined Yahoo Finance to discuss how the coronavirus is affecting schools and why she believes the U.S. education system is again in this precarious position.

“The Trump administration has done nothing. We’re seeing a huge surge in cases. When you have this kind of surge in terms of community positivity, schools are going to close down again and revert back to remote, and we’re starting to see that in lots of different places.”

The Midwest is seeing a surge in cases. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
The Midwest is seeing a surge in cases. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

Weingarten uses New York City as an example in which COVID-19 positivity rates have elevated to 3% in recent days. The largest school district in the nation may have to halt in-person learning because of the rise in cases.

“Even though we’ve been able to create a cocoon in places that actually understood that the safeguards, community spread is going to spread into schools, you can’t stop community spread from spreading ... That’s why the failure to actually deal with the surge, the failure by the Trump administration, and by the deniers to deal with COVID is creating a terrible situation. It’s worsening the economy, and it’s yet another terrible situation for kids.”

Eroding teacher confidence is another problem Weingarten pins on the Trump administration.

“I think part of it is that you don’t have anyone in this administration who has fought to make sure that schools are safe ... for our kids and for our educators. ... But what’s happened is that teachers want to teach in schools. They know they need the standards; they need the safeguards.”

Group of children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown, learning.
Group of children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown, learning.

Weingarten pointed out that 90% of teachers are spending their own money on PPE equipment.

“The lack of resources, as of guidance, the lack of any federal tracker on this, all of these things are terrible. And these are things that teachers have asked for.”

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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