Parents should not be happy with President Biden's administration if it merely meets its stated goal regarding school reopenings, says White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
The new president's team has been criticized for branding its target of reopening a "majority" of elementary and middle schools in its first 100 days as "bold" before Inauguration Day — only to redefine it this week in more modest terms.
Psaki was asked Thursday whether parents or guardians should be "satisfied" with the target of having more than 50% of schools providing "some teaching in classrooms at least once a week."
"They shouldn't be. I wouldn't be, as a parent, and I am a parent," she replied, adding Biden would "not rest until every school is open, five days a week."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release its guidelines for reopening schools on Friday. The guidance is expected to emphasize testing and social distancing measures over vaccinations.
The guidelines will clarify mixed messages from the White House as education amid the coronavirus pandemic sandwiches the administration between the needs of children, their parents, teachers — and unions for the latter group.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky indicated last week during one of the administration's coronavirus briefings that it was possible for teachers to restart in-person instruction without receiving a COVID-19 shot, a key issue of many negotiations between the unions and their respective local governments.
When pressed on Walensky's comments, Psaki said Walensky had spoken "in her personal capacity" because "final guidance" on school reopenings was still coming from the CDC.
During his pre-Super Bowl interview last weekend, Biden suggested the guidelines could be published as early as Wednesday. The extra few days have given time for more unions to reach agreements, including in Chicago.