“The President is taking very seriously the issue … both from the student standpoint and from the teacher standpoint,” Fauci said during a virtual event sponsored by the National Education Association.
“He really wants to and believes that the schools need to reopen in the next 100 days, essentially all the K to 8 schools, within 100 days. That’s the goal. That may not happen because there may be mitigating circumstances, but what he really wants to do is everything within his power to help get to that.”
The new funding would be part of a broad $1.9 trillion relief package that would also include expanding unemployment benefits and direct stimulus checks.
“Students in very small pods, classes of about 11 or 12, distanced, in a rural area — they can go to school safely,” Klain said, adding that “in other states, we haven’t seen those kinds of investments.”
Biden has also signed several executive actions to help support the reopening goal and establish a national strategy to get the coronavirus pandemic under control, but the measures stop short of requiring schools to reopen within any set time frame.
One executive order directs the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide reopening guidance to schools with a focus on masking, testing and cleaning. A separate presidential memorandum offers reimbursement to schools for purchases of personal protective equipment through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund.
“The educational community, the teachers and the teams associated with education are such an absolutely critical part of society in general,” Fauci said Thursday. “But also a very critical part of our response to this outbreak — because we’re not going to get back to normal until we get the children back in school.”
CNN’s Katie Lobosco contributed to this report.