Follow the science? Biden puts priority on vaccinating teachers before their return to classrooms

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, February 7, 2021

Not having in-person instruction and school sports and activities has been devastating to the educational, physical, and mental well-being of America’s children.

The few remaining free states realized months ago that it was indeed safe to return teachers and students to the classrooms.

Now, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a Joe Biden appointee, has said it is safe for teachers to return to in-person instruction.

“I want to be clear. There is increasing data to support that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest teachers need to be vaccinated,” Walensky said Wednesday.

Biden during the 2020 campaign vowed to “follow the science” on all things coronavirus.

The Biden team tweeted on Jan. 18: “Our Administration will lead with science and scientists — with a CDC and NIH that are free from political influence, a Surgeon General who is independent and speaks directly to the people, and an FDA whose decisions are based on science and science alone.”

Biden and his team lied.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Walensky’s comments were not policy.

“They have not released their guidance yet, from the CDC, yet, on the vaccination of teachers and what would be needed to ensure the safe reopening of schools. We’d defer to that [guidance], which we hope to see soon,” Psaki said Wednesday, adding that Biden “has talked about the importance of a priority of vaccinating teachers.”

Most research suggests that the risk of getting the virus in school is very low for teachers.

In late January, three CDC researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association that “there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics of 11 school districts with a total of 90,000 students found that “no instances of child-to adult transmission of SARS-CoV-2 were reported within schools.”

Rep. Gary Palmer, an Alabama Republican, said: “I think the science only matters when it fits the Biden administration’s narrative. But the science is clear. It is safe for teachers to return to school.”

Many teachers unions, including ones in Los Angeles and Chicago, have refused to return to in-person instruction unless teachers are prioritized for the vaccine.

Despite Psaki’s assertion, education specialists say a lack of codified guidance from the CDC does not prevent the Biden administration from encouraging teachers to return to the classroom.

“I think it’s a combination of concern about the continued spread of COVID-19 but also amplified by resistance from teachers unions,” said Sean Higgins, a research fellow specializing in labor and employment issues at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Biden is listening to the unions, and that is tipping his decision in that direction.”

Teachers unions contributed $5.9 million to Democrats in the last election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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