Groups consisting of the United States doctors, teachers and senior school officials pushed back against pressure from President Donald Trump to fully reopen American schools, saying science must guide the decisions. The US President's decision comes despite a huge surge in coronavirus cases.
Brenda Del Hierro was not so thrilled with distance learning when her kids were sent home in March to when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, yet the Los Angeles mom said she was not convinced it would be safe to send them back to the classroom this fall.
Del Hierro said she backs a call by teachers unions in Los Angeles and nationwide to hold off re-opening schools until the latest intense surge of coronavirus cases fades and plans are in place to safely reopen.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, where Del Hierro's children are enrolled, has not yet decided whether in-person instruction will resume when school starts next month.
The teachers union in the nation's second-largest school district on Friday recommended keeping school campuses closed when the semester begins on August 18.
Simply calling for physical distancing and asking children and teachers to wear masks will not be enough, said Del Hierro. Her eight-year-old son, for example, complains that it is difficult to breathe through a mask, and tends to take his off.
She said she is also worried that if something upsetting happens at her son's school in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, teachers will not be able to properly console children from six feet away.
"I wish they would just focus on distance learning and making it better," said the stay-at-home mom, 33.
Jennifer McAfee, who teaches English at Dotson Middle School in Rancho Palos Verdes, said with just six weeks left before the start of school, there is too little time and too few resources to plan a safe re-opening.
Even something as simple as a ride on the school bus needs to be reimagined, she said, to make sure kids obey distancing and mask guidelines.
Trump pushes to reopen schools
Donald Trump ramped up his threat on Friday, saying the Treasury Department would re-examine schools' tax-exempt status and federal funding.
His push to reopen schools comes as cases of the novel coronavirus surge in some of the country's most populous areas, prompting some state and local authorities to roll back plans to relax restrictions.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record increase in coronavirus cases worldwide on Friday, with the total rising by 228,102 in a day.
Covid cases globally exceeded 12 million on Wednesday, marking another milestone in the spread of the infection that has killed over 555,000 people in almost seven months.
(With Reuters inputs)