The Biden administration wants to keep children in school, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said on Sunday, adding that “they’ve suffered enough” in the pandemic.
Cardona predicted some “bumps in the road” amid the omicron variant spike but defended the federal “test-to-stay” protocol in which students who test positive for coronavirus can stay in school if they are regularly tested afterward.
“Our expectation is for schools to be open full time for students,for in-person learning,” Cardona told “Fox News Sunday.” “We remember the impact of school closures on students last year.”
Schools should be considering strategies to test students with coronavirus symptoms in school, he said.
“Keeping them in school is critical for them, for a community, for our communities, for our parents,” he said.
The White House has come under criticism for a nationwide shortage of COVID-19 tests, but Cardona pointed to $10 billion in funding designated for tests from the American Rescue Plan of 2021.
Staffing issues could pose a problem this week as students return to the classroom following their winter break, he said.
“Superintendents who are working really hard across the country are getting calls saying that some of their schools may have 5% to 10% of their staff not available,” Cardona said.
“So any decisions on very short-term or emergency closures are most likely based off of staffing issues and, ultimately, those are safety issues when you don’t have adequate staff,” he said.
“But the goal is full-time in-person learning for our students. They’ve suffered enough,” he added.