White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tried to obscure expert medical guidance that conflicts with teacher union demands on Wednesday in a press conference, mischaracterizing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on school reopenings.
Earlier in the day, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters that while communities should be prioritizing certain members for the COVID vaccine, every teacher does not need to receive a shot for schools to safely return to in-person learning.
“While we’re implementing the criteria of the advisory committee and of the state and local guidances to get vaccination across these eligible communities…vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools,” Walensky said.
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) February 3, 2021
During a press briefing later in the afternoon, however, Psaki — who has no science or medical credentials — contradicted Walensky by claiming the CDC technically has not released any official guidance or directives on teacher vaccinations and school reopenings.
“They have not released their official guidance yet from the CDC on the vaccination of teachers and what would be needed to ensure the safe reopening of schools,” Psaki said. “The president himself has talked about the importance and priority of vaccinating teachers.”
.@PressSec is asked about the CDC Director saying that teachers being vaccinated is not a pre-requisite for safely opening schools:
“They have not released their official guidance yet… on what would be needed to ensure the safe re-opening of schools.” pic.twitter.com/bl2HhzaEPh
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 3, 2021
This science denial comes just one week after Psaki claimed that a landmark CDC study documenting COVID-19 transmission among students and teachers was only applicable to rural schools, discounting its results to fit the Biden admin’s ever-growing anti-school-reopening agenda.
“The CDC study, which I know has received a lot of attention, was based on kind of an area that was more rural in Wisconsin. … For areas where they are more populated or schools where there is a lot more foot traffic … there are going to need to be a lot of steps put in place in order to make the schools reopening safe,” Psaki said.
Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain also joined the ranks in publicly denying the data on COVID-19 transmission in schools on CNN, saying it was only after a grant for safety measures was applied to the Wisconsin school in question that students were allowed to return. In his interview, Klain sided with teachers unions in the fight to reopen for in-person learning, saying there were still educator demands that districts in the United States should meet before considering returning to classrooms.
“I don’t think unions are overruling studies,” Klain said on CNN. “I think what you’re seeing is schools that haven’t made the investments to keep the students safe.”
In the CDC study, researchers concluded COVID-19 barely spread in schools in the United States and overseas, a finding consistent with a large body of international research.
Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.