White House refuses to allow the CDC to testify on reopening schools

The hearing on safely reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic will take place on July 23.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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The White House is holding a hearing next week on safely reopening schools amid the pandemic.

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The White House has blocked the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from testifying at a public hearing about safely reopening schools. The news was tweeted Friday by the House of Representatives' Committee on Education and Labor, and came a week after Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Scott invited CDC Director Robert R. Redfield to testify "on how to safely reopen schools while prioritizing the health and safety of students and educators" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is alarming that the Administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the Committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents and educators," Scott said in a statement Friday. "The Administration's strategy of prioritizing politics over science has had a devastating impact on our country throughout this pandemic. It should not make that same mistake when it comes to reopening schools."

A White House spokesperson said Redfield has already testified "at least four times over the last three months."

"We need our doctors focused on the pandemic response," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The hearing will take place Thursday, July 23, to discuss the reopening of K-12 public schools for the 2020-21 school year.

On Friday, California's governor told schools in the state that they can't reopen in the fall if they're in counties on the state's COVID-19 watch list. Earlier in the week, school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego counties had already decided not to reopen for in-person learning, while New York City public schools have decided to reopen with "blended learning."

The White House reportedly also told hospitals earlier this week to bypass the CDC and send their coronavirus data directly to Washington.

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