Trump says White House requested $105 billion for school reopenings
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump said Thursday the White House has asked Congress to provide $105 billion to facilitate school reopenings and teased long-awaited additional US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on those reopenings that was posted on the agency's website Thursday afternoon with little public notice and no explanation of what has been changed.
"We're asking Congress to provide $105 billion to schools" in the next stimulus bill, Trump announced at his coronavirus briefing at the White House. He said the funds would help schools that reopen with things like masks and modifications to help with social distancing among students.
Republicans in the Senate, who delayed the release of their stimulus plan Thursday, have dismissed Trump's call to withhold more federal aid from schools that remain shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.
But the White House is requesting that schools that don't reopen don't have access to the new funds, Trump said Thursday. Instead, in districts that remain closed, the White House has asked that the money "go to the parents" to allow them to make decisions about whether to send their children to private or charter schools.
"If the school is closed, the money should follow the student so the parents and families are in control of their own decisions," Trump said.
"We cannot indefinitely stop 50 million children from going to school," Trump said. "Reopening our schools is also critical to ensuring parents can go to work and provide for their families."
The President, however, displayed a map earlier in the briefing with coronavirus hotspots highlighted in red and acknowledged those areas may need to delay in-person learning until infection rates come down.
New CDC guidelines on education and child care on Thursday came down hard in favor of opening schools, saying children don't suffer much from coronavirus, are less likely than adults to spread it and suffer from being out of school.
But the new guidelines do recommend that local officials consider closing schools, or keeping them closed, if there is substantial, uncontrolled transmission of the virus.
While the CDC has already released some guidance, and its director has said that guidance is not changing, officials had been previewing a set of supplemental recommendations and informational documents that the agency was slated to release last week, but that officials delayed.
Trump urged local leaders on Thursday to "not make political decisions."
"This is not about politics. This is about something very, very important," he said.
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