Coming tomorrow: Long-awaited CDC guidelines on reopening schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to unveil guidelines on Friday for reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic as White House officials have offered shifting answers on their goals for returning children to in-person learning.

“There is no debate over whether to open schools here. There’s a debate over how. And if it were as simple as open all the schools, they would be open now,” Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to the White House on the pandemic response, said on MSNBC early Thursday.

“Tomorrow, the CDC is going to roll out their operating plan to give school districts, local communities, the guidance they need to do that,” Slavitt added.

Why it matters: The White House has been in the spotlight on the schools issue after offering sometimes mixed messages, and has been accused of siding with overly cautious teacher’s unions and ignoring science that says schools can be open safely.

The administration is facing scrutiny for saying earlier this week that Biden’s goal of having schools open within his first 100 days office meant more than 50 percent of schools were holding at least one day of in-person learning each week by the end of that time frame. That claim was mostly walked back on Thursday, when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Bien’s commitment is to ensure schools are open five days a week.