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Jen Psaki Denies Existence of CDC Guidance to Reopen Schools
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki talks to reporters during the daily press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House February 04, 2021 in Washington, DC. Earlier, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan previewed President Joe Biden’s agenda for his visit to the State Department later in the day.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki falsely claimed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had not released guidance to reopen schools, despite the CDC Director calling for the immediate reopening of schools without the vaccination of teachers.

In her Wednesday press briefing, Psaki asserted that the CDC had not released guidance on schools reopening after CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House coronavirus briefing that the vaccination of teachers “is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.” The CDC has also released a slew of informational materials on safely returning to school for teachers and said that schools should openly immediately. 

“They have not released their official guidance yet from the CDC on the vaccination of teachers and what would be needed to ensure the safe reopening of schools,” Psaki said. “The president himself has talked about the importance and priority of vaccinating teachers. 

At the White House coronavirus briefing, Walensky reiterated guidance that schools should open immediately. She added that data increasingly suggests teachers do not need to be vaccinated to return to classroom learning. 

“I also want to be clear that there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely.” 

The Daily Wire reported

Last week the CDC weighed into the ongoing debate over whether to reopen schools for in-person instruction, noting that schools that are currently welcoming students into classrooms with certain safety precautions in place have only “scant transmission” of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 

In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last week, doctors affiliated with the CDC encouraged schools nationwide to open their doors, claiming that “there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”

In an interview on the Rachel Maddow Show, Walensky doubled down on the CDC’s guidance to reopen without full vaccinations of teachers. 

“There’s accumulating data that suggests there’s not a lot of transmission that is happening in schools when the proper mitigation measures are taken,” Walensky said. “The data suggests, the science suggests, that there is not a lot of transmission happening in schools. In fact, the case rates in schools are generally lower than they are in the population surrounding it.” 

Walensky confirmed that CDC guidance is to prioritize the vaccination of teachers, though it is not an official prerequisite to reopen schools. 

“The science tells us that if we can do the proper mitigation measures … that we can reopen schools safely even if all of the teachers are not vaccinated,” Walensky said. 

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