MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough went after some critics of former President Donald Trump on Monday, saying that when it comes to the delay in reopening schools, they are now the ones “not following the science.”
In his broadcast of “Morning Joe,” Scarborough, along with Jonathan Lemire, a reporter for The Associated Press, questioned Dr. Ashish Jha on the science of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. They also discussed why “the same people who were criticizing” Trump “for not following science” are now also “not following science” when it comes to reopening schools. (RELATED: ‘It’s Not A Trick Question’: CNN Anchor Pushes Spokesperson For Kamala Harris To Stop Dodging On Teacher Vaccinations)
The discussion began with Jha answering a question from Lemire about the “realistic expectation” of going back to in-person learning and if parents should be prepared to send their children back to school for 5 days a week during the fall. He said that the science is “crystal clear” on the issue and that kids can “absolutely” go back safely five days a week. He added that it can be done “even sooner than that” by making some changes, including improving ventilation and vaccinations.
Scarborough then noted that some cities “continue to disappoint parents” by pushing reopening plans to later in the fall.
Scarborough went on to say that there is “a hell of a lot of science” showing the impact not being in school has had on the mental health of children, and that not being in school “is a greater detriment” to their health than any risk from coronavirus.
“Yeah. So, you’re absolutely right. We’ve got very good science here that says we can keep schools safe … And all of that exists even before we had vaccines,” Jha responded. “If we don’t go back to full-time this fall, there is no reason to believe based on the data that we will go back to full-time in the fall of 2022 or fall of 2023. This virus is not going away. We are going to have to learn to live with it.”
“That is not acceptable. It’s not acceptable them dragging their feet as much as they are now. I know there’s a big race for mayor in New York City. I’m certainly hoping that most of the candidates for mayor have the very simple message: Open the damn schools. If they want to follow the science, that’s what their message will be in their campaign. Open the damn schools,” Scarborough concluded.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released updated guidance Feb. 12 saying that schools can safely reopen. They stated that they are recommending in-person instruction resumes as long as certain precautions are met and there is not a high rate of community spread. The guidance also said that teachers do not need to receive the coronavirus vaccine in order to reopen safely.
Teachers unions across the country have resisted returning to in-person learning, including one county in Virginia that decided to hire “classroom monitors” to watch children in place of teachers. The Chicago Teachers Union refused to go back to school unless teachers received the coronavirus vaccine.