The Senate announced Miguel Cardona as the education secretary, which seems to be a step forward towards the reopening of schools across the country, one of Joe Biden’s administration’s chief goals.
One of his first acts as the secretary is to join first lady Jill Biden in a tour to Meriden, Connecticut, and Waterford, Pennsylvania, on 10th March, to visit two public schools that have lately reopened for in-person learning.
Cardona is taking the first steps towards fulfilling President Joe Biden’s goal of reopening most schools by May, which will be in Biden’s early 100 days in office.
In a USA Today, op-ed printed Tuesday evening, that Cardona drew his goals for the department through a five-point plan to accomplish the administration’s goal of safely reopening schools as soon as possible.
Biden pronounced on Tuesday that his administration would ensure prioritizing educators in vaccination and attempting to reach the goal of educators receiving at least one shot by the end of March, which would mean a determined attempt to get back in-person learning as soon as possible.
In his op-ed, Cardona highlighted the necessity for different stakeholders to share their views and concerns about reopening and what is that’s working for their schools and wat isn’t.
He mentioned that he intends to “convene the experts” in a national summit in March to get “critical feedback we need to make reopening as seamless as possible” and listen to what students require on an academic, social and emotional level.
While it is not declared when precisely the summit will occur and in what format, he stated that parents, students, school leadership and community organizations would be part of it.
He mentioned that the Department of Education would share the best practices and create a “best practices clearinghouse” with the idea of making solutions that are working well for some schools accessible to all.
He also expressed his dedication to providing a second edition of the Department of Education’s Covid-19 handbook to lend updated information for educators. He reassured the department’s goal of conducting a national survey to gather data on school reopening status and in-person learning. The survey was initially announced in early February.
Cardona shared that schools require financial help to reopen classes safely. To meet this requirement, Biden is currently pushing for Congress to sanction a total of $170 billion in education funding as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus suite.
Last month at his confirmation hearing, Cardona vowed to deliver clear reopening guidance, based on science, and shared that he believes the strategy should call for an amplified surveillance Covid-19 testing for educators as well as prioritize them to receive the vaccine.
The CDC has since released fresh guidance for reopening in-person learning. The update comprises OF various requirements like washing hands, cleaning facilities and improving ventilation, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at the same time has said it is important to prioritize wearing masks and physical distancing.
The reviewed CDC guidance doesn’t list vaccination as a main strategy, but says that it does offer “an additional layer of protection,” she said.