On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said schools across the nation will have the necessary resources to reopen for in-person learning.
He visited a classroom of masked fourth graders at a North Carolina private school. His visit came after President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said they would withhold federal funding from K-12 schools that do not allow students to return to physical classrooms.
Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate, has criticized Trump over his threats and said his administration has not provided enough resources or guidance to schools.
Pence said, “We’re all gonna make sure schools across America have the support to open up and stay open,” adding he was there “to help states be able to have the resources and the guidance they need to reopen schools safely.”
The vice president told the students, “Study hard, pray harder. Sky’s the limit.”
He went on to say, “Online learning is no substitute for in-person learning,” adding data indicate that coronavirus poses a low risk to most children.
“The one thing we know studying the data from around America and around the world is the risk the coronavirus poses to healthy children is very low,” he added.
Many health officials have raised concerns over the transmission of the virus among children and their parents, especially those who are at greater risk.
DeVos said students in North Carolina and across the nation should return to classrooms. She said, “There’s too many schools in this state and others that are ignoring parents and leaving schools closed.”
She also announced a federal fund of $180 million for North Carolina and 10 other states to help serve students during the ongoing pandemic.
Earlier this month, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that public schools might offer a combination of both online and in-person instruction.
When asked about the Trump administration’s consideration of withholding federal funds, Copper said, “We don’t respond to those kinds of threats.”
Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said, “Vice President Pence can try to convince educators and students otherwise with this school visit, but the reality is that he has been pushing educators across the country to reopen their doors without putting critical safety measures in place.”
After his school visit, Pence went to pay a visit to NC Biotech in Durham, where a coronavirus candidate is undergoing Phase 3 clinical trial. He urged Americans to visit clinicaltrials.gov if they are interested in volunteering in the ongoing vaccine trials. Pence said, “We’ll get through this, and the day will come that we put the coronavirus in the past and we bring North Carolina and America back bigger and better than ever before.”