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Biden pushes to reopen schools amid teacher vaccination debate

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The Biden administration is hoping to reopen schools, but some are hesitant to return if teachers are not vaccinated. Nancy Cordes has the latest.

Video Transcript

NORA: Turning now to another pressing issue for the country. When can children get back in the classroom? Tonight, President Biden says when that happens will depend on passage of his stimulus plan. CBS's Nancy Cordes reports from the White House.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: The federal government has to chip in, make sure we get this done.

- President Biden pushing his relief bill argues it will help schools reopen sooner.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: The goal will be five days a week.

- That goal is more ambitious than the 100 day goal the White House laid out just last week, of in-person schooling at least one day a week for children in K through eighth.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: That's not true. And was a mistake in the communication.

- White House press Secretary, Jen Psaki.

JEN PSAKI: Certainly when I initially said one day a week it was our-- it was our floor, it was not our ceiling.

- One key will be getting teachers their shots.

- In-person teaching must be safe for everyone.

- Connecticut teachers made a public push today. The president supports prioritizing teachers.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: We should move them up in hierarchies.

- It's a view he shares with 76% of Americans. But right now the White House is leaving it up to the states.

- Can't you mandate that states prioritize teachers?

JEN PSAKI: We can provide federal guidelines, which is exactly what we've done, but that's not how the process has worked and I don't anticipate it would be-- that's how it worked moving forward.

- So far just 21 states and D.C. Have moved all their teachers to the front of the line. Aimee Fortin teaches third grade in Colorado.

AMIEE FORTIN: I'm really, really excited that I, like, can be one more vector that stops, is being with my classroom. It's worrisome that I-- I'd be the cause of spreading it.

NANCY CORDES: Late this afternoon we learned that President Biden had finally held his first phone call with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Who famously had a close relationship with President Trump and a rockier one with President Obama. A dynamic that could help explain why this White House kept him waiting for nearly a month. Nora.

NORA: Nancy Cordes, thank you.