President Donald Trump threatened to “cut off funding” to schools that refuse his demands to reopen amidst the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday.
On Fox News Wednesday afternoon, host Neil Cavuto repeatedly pressed his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on her “schools must open” policy.
DeVos dismissed the potential risks to not only school children but to their teachers and family members.
“There’s nothing in the data that suggests that it would not be appropriate to have kids in school,” DeVos claimed. “And while there may be spikes in certain areas and certain communities, those are exceptions to the rule. The rule should be that kids need to be back in school. It’s important for their health across the board.”
DeVos told Cavuto that the Trump administration was “strongly urging” governors to reopen schools in the fall, the host explained to her that “you’re doing more than that.”
“The president is threatening aid to those that don’t. What do you think of that?” Cavuto asked. When DeVos said that schools that don’t reopen are breaking a “promise” to families in their communities, the host interrupted her to say, “But there are extenuating circumstances, right?” Smiling, he added, “There was this little thing called the coronavirus.”
DeVos continued pushing for schools to reopen, ignoring the health implications.
In the communities that have seen spiking cases, the Fox News host asked her, “Would it be reckless of a governor or even a mayor in those locales to go ahead and reopen schools as if none of that were going on?”
DeVos refused to directly answer the question, instead, focusing on states like Florida and Texas that have said they will go along with the Trump administration’s push to reopen.
“The fact is that kids have to get back to schools and schools have got to reopen,” she said. “We can’t sit around while everything else is opening back up again and have a huge segment of the population—our kids, our future—biding their time and not going back and learning.”
DeVos refused to say whether she agreed with Trump’s threats to withhold funding for states that deem reopening schools fundamentally unsafe.