Biden outlines school reopening plan amid pandemic

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden unveils a plan to safely reopen schools during the coronavius pandemic. In a video recorded with his wife Jill, a former teacher, Biden said the first step was reducing virus cases. (July 17)

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: This year, back to school is going to look very, very different. And we know how hard it's going to be for families all across the country.

JILL BIDEN: It's hard for the kids who want to get back to normal routines and see their friends. It's hard for parents struggling to balance work and childcare commitments. It's hard for educators who more than anything want to be with their students. I know I do.

JOE BIDEN: Everyone wants our schools reopened. The question is how to make it safe, how to make it stick. Forcing education students back into a classroom in areas where the infection rate is going up or remaining very high is just plain dangerous.

JILL BIDEN: Teachers are tough. We're right there with our students for all of their ups and downs. We pick them up when they fall. But it's wrong to endanger educators and students. We need a better plan.

JOE BIDEN: Now, it has to start by getting cases down in our communities. That's step one. It means wearing a mask, following social justice guidelines, ensuring effective testing and tracing, and that workers have the protective equipment they need to be safe. Donald Trump may have waved the white flag and given up, but the rest of us can't do that.

JILL BIDEN: Schools and parents alike want a clear, science-based strategy, not mixed messages and ultimatums. We're all asking how low should the infection rate be to reopen? How big should class sizes be? And if we can't accommodate everyone, which students should be brought back first? But instead of answers, we've been left to improvise.

JOE BIDEN: To reopen safely, schools and child care centers need funds so that they can implement the changes they need to make, to buy the protective equipment for their staffs and children, to ensure proper ventilation, upgrade broadband technology. You know, if I were president, I'd be sending funding-- a funding bill right now to the Congress today.

JILL BIDEN: As long as we have to keep learning remotely, we need to ensure students have access to broadband and other technology no matter where they live.

JOE BIDEN: Every single student should be able to access high-quality distance learning. We can't allow the pandemic to further exacerbate educational disparities that already exist in this country. We need a White House that's laser focused on closing those gaps.

JILL BIDEN: We're going to get through this because our schools and students, our educators and parents, we're resilient. We know how to find strength in each other. We know how to come together and fight for our kids. But we can't do this without help. We need someone to champion our safety, our education, and our future. And Joe will be that champion.

JOE BIDEN: Well, thank you. If I'm elected president, our students and educators are going to have all the tools and resources they need to succeed to get us through COVID-19, to build the strong, resilient schools we need so that every child has a chance to succeed in the 21st century. So stay safe, stay safe.