As usual, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has no serious answers about how to safely reopen schools this fall, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out her interview – video below – on CNN’s State of the Union this morning, as DeVos attempt – and fails miserably – to respond to Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand about how much space would be required to safely “distance” students this fall.
Brabrand: “Our default on a normal school day in Fairfax County is 18 inches…We’re the size of five Pentagons. You would need another five Pentagons of space to be able to safely accommodate all of the students in Fairfax County public schools.”
Dana Bash: “So what he’s saying, Madam Secretary, it’s not feasible to bring everybody back and follow the very guidelines from your federal government…CDC guidelines.”
DeVos: Blah blah blah…something about Miami-Dade…blah blah blah…”Four days a week…online and the fifth day not, or two days a week in person, these are not valid options and choices for families, and it’s not full-time instruction…” Blah blah.
Bash: “OK, what you are saying is you want kids back in school. What he is saying is because they have almost 200,000 children in their school district, they would have the size of five Pentagons in order to accommodate what you are asking for. They’re wealthy districts, but even with money, it’s just not feasible. So what is your recommendation given that reality?”
DeVos: “My recommendation is he take up the offer to meet with my team and some of the folks from the CDC and the task force to talk about ways that they can look at this freshly and differently on behalf of the students they’re serving…The CDC guidelines are just that, meant to be flexible and meant to be applied as appropriate for the situation…I would look forward to meeting with him…and talking about how this can practically happen. I think we’re all on the same page. We want kids to get back to school…learning full-time…not just an episodic situation…”
In sum: Serious points by Fairfax Schools Superintendent Brabrand; serious questions by CNN host Dana Bash; zero seriousness from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.