Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Wednesday schools should use federal money to host coronavirus vaccine clinics as students return to in-person classes this fall, saying only “adult actions” could prevent students from returning to class full-time.
“Schools should be open,” Cardona told HuffPost. “I would be very disappointed if adult actions interfere with students’ ability to learn in person.”
Cardona also said states should repeal laws barring local school districts and municipalities from mandating masks for students and teachers, arguing mask requirements might be necessary for a safe return to school as the coronavirus pandemic continues. He declined, however, to say whether states should require teachers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“I know vaccines work,” Cardona said in a brief phone interview after delivering a speech at an elementary school in Baltimore on the administration’s plans to return children safely to school. “But I’ll leave decisions on whether or not to mandate something to the health experts.”
Republicans have intermittently hammered Democratic President Joe Biden over school closures due to the pandemic, often arguing his administration is more concerned with placating teachers’ unions than helping students learn. The administration is counting on a smooth return to schools this fall to keep the nation’s economic recovery on track and fend off further GOP attacks.