At a coronavirus task force briefing on Wednesday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the agency’s recommendations for schools aren’t meant to be used as a rationale to not reopen them.
ROBERT REDFIELD: And first and foremost, I want to make it very, very clear that the guidance that CDC continues to put out for schools K through 12 and higher learning is intentional for reopening and keeping our schools open. That's its purpose.
We recognize that there's a variety of unique circumstances for different schools and different school districts, and so we've outlined a number of strategies that those schools, those administrators can use to accomplish this goal safely.
But I want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of CDC's guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed. We're prepared to work with each school, each jurisdiction to help them use the different strategies that we propose that help do this safely so they come up with the optimal strategy for those schools.
I think it's critical, and it would be personally very disappointing to me and, I know, my agency if we saw that individuals were using these guidelines as a rationale for not reopening our schools.
I think there's a series of different additional guidelines that we are about to put out to help really with the K-through-12 community, particularly at the community level, to help open safely-- guidelines also that come out or consideration documents for parents and caregivers, guidelines for schools to help them understand how best to do symptom surveillance and characterize symptoms in the schools as a tool, and guidelines to really work out how and the ins and outs of using face masks in the school setting, as well as finally some guidance and to help the schools have systems which they can monitor their programs.
But I want to close by just reiterating again that the purpose of CDC's guidance is-- remember, it's guidance. It's not requirements. And its purpose is to facilitate the reopening and keeping open the schools in this country because as the vice president has said, it is critical that we get these schools open and do it safely. We're prepared to work with all the school districts and schools to help them facilitate their development of their own unique plan to accomplish that.