Shortly before Trump tweeted, Steve Hilton of Fox News happened to be talking about that very subject, urging schools to reopen “schools now before you do even more needless damage.” He said wearing masks was “fine” but compulsory temperature checks were “unscientific nonsense” and “totally pointless,” and social distancing rules were “over-prescriptive” and “arbitrary.”
Trump has been pushing the country to reopen swiftly despite warnings by health and infectious disease specialists that the novel coronavirus is still spreading in many areas. School districts around the country are making plans for the 2020-21 school year that will depend on the state of the pandemic in the late summer and fall, including contingencies for opening schools, or continuing with remote learning, or a hybrid plan.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll published last week found that 41 percent of Americans said it was a bad to reopen schools this fall, while about one-third thought it was a good idea. Asked whom they trust more to handle education, 45 percent said former vice president Joe Biden, 34 percent said Trump, and 21 percent said they had no opinion.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll released in late April found that 85 percent of respondents said “no” when asked if they thought schools should reopen without further testing for the novel coronavirus. Fourteen percent said it was a “good” idea and 1 percent said they had no opinion.
In early May, Trump had a virtual town hall at the Lincoln Memorial with Fox News anchors and was asked by a student how she could feel safe going back to school during a second wave of covid-19. He told her he thought she would be “in great shape” but that “a bigger problem” was older teachers being in their classrooms.
An hour after Trump’s Sunday night schools tweet, it had nearly 11,000 retweets, nearly 37,000 “likes,” and many tweets commenting about the idea of reopening schools, most of them criticizing the idea as well as the wording of Trump’s tweet.
Here are some of the responses to his Sunday night tweet:
Parents are going to send their kids to school when they are convinced it is safe, not when the President declares it in a late night twitter rant.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) May 25, 2020
We have to open our ENTIRE COUNTRY quickly and safely! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
— JT Lewis (@thejtlewis) May 25, 2020
I mean, in his defense, sentences like “much very good information” is probably justification to open schools.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) May 25, 2020
Most schools are already closed for the summer.
We’re done on Thursday.
Teaching from home has been working just fine.
It’s better than worrying about our staff and students dying b/c we can’t social distance in a school building with 1100 students.
— D Villella ❄️ (@dvillella) May 25, 2020
I am reasonable. Not sending my child back.
— Sara Tice (@SaraTice3) May 25, 2020
Before sending American children to school:
•The White House should resume public tours.
•Trump should interact with untested visitors.
•Paul Manafort should return to prison.
•Ivanka and kids should ride the subway.
•Fox News should broadcast from their studios.
— jen pal (@jennyrachelpal) May 25, 2020