It may not be 100% safe to open schools in the fall like Trump wants: former governor

Brian Sozzi
·3 mins read

The debate on whether schools should reopen in the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on is reaching fever pitch levels.

Experts say though it should ultimately boil down to whether reopening is safe for kids. And, the states need to make that call.

“In some areas it’s highly problematic in my view. In others it could probably be accomplished,” said former Utah governor Mike Leavitt on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

Leavitt is no stranger to handling pandemics. He served as administrator of the EPA and Secretary of Health and Human Services under former president George W. Bush, dealing directly with the response to the Avian flu. Leavitt is currently on the new “Healthy Sails Panel” along with former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb advising cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean on how to safely return to service.

“Again, it goes back to dealing with this on a blanket basis. This is a big country. There are 14,000 school districts and hundreds and thousands more schools. So dealing with this if they should open or close is really not dealing with the issue. We ought to be laying out principles. That is to say the pillars of wisdom and allowing people to then govern themselves within that. Governors are in a better position to make those decisions than Washington is. And for that matter, school boards are probably in a position to make even better decisions than governors. Again, very individualized. When you consider that you have 14,000 districts, it’s just a mistake to try to do that in one place,” Leavitt explained.

education, elementary school, learning and people concept - group of school kids sitting and listening to teacher in classroom from back
Credit: Getty

Suffice it to say, Trump has a different take on the matter.

Trump has consistently adhered to the message that schools across the country must reopen in the fall. On Wednesday, the president tweeted that he disagreed with the CDC’s guidelines for safely reopening schools calling them “very tough” and “expensive.” Trump added he may withhold funding for schools if they don’t reopen.

The president’s comments sparked the ire of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“If anybody sat here today, and told you that they could reopen the school in September, that would be reckless and negligent of that person,” Cuomo said in his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday. Cuomo added that the decision to reopen schools in New York rests with him, not the president.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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