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Trump leans on schools to reopen as virus continues its spread

WASHINGTON — President Trump demanded on Tuesday that schools reopen physically in the fall, pressing his drive to get the country moving again even as the coronavirus pandemic surged through much of the United States.

In a daylong series of conference calls and public events at the White House, the president, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and other senior officials opened a concerted campaign to lean on governors, mayors, and others to resume classes in person months after more than 50 million children were abruptly ejected from school buildings in March.

Trump and his administration argued that the social, psychological, and educational costs of keeping children at home any longer would be worse than the virus itself.


But they offered no concrete proposals or new financial assistance to states and localities struggling to restructure academic settings, staffs, and programs that were never intended to keep children 6 feet apart or cope with the requirements of combating a virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans.

“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,” Trump said at a forum at the White House.

“It’s very important. It’s very important for our country. It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents.

“So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.” he said.

Trump heaped scorn on Harvard University for “closing for the season” this fall. In fact, Harvard said mainly first-year students and some students in special circumstances would be invited to campus in the fall, then seniors would replace them in the spring. “I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said. “I think it’s an easy way out, and I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves, if you want to know the truth.”


New York Times

At least 8 Miss. lawmakers test positive for COVID-19

JACKSON, Miss. — At least eight Mississippi lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus after working several weeks in a Capitol where many people stood or sat close together and did not wear masks.

Among those who have publicly acknowledged having COVID-19 are Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the 52-member Senate, and House Speaker Philip Gunn, who presides over that 122-member chamber.

The state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said Tuesday that there are also at least 11 other suspected cases of the virus among legislators and Capitol employees.

Mississippi legislators were at the Capitol for most of June and on July 1, wrapping up their annual session that was interrupted by the pandemic.

Associated Press

Protective gear for medical workers begins to run low

The personal protective gear that was in dangerously short supply during the early weeks of the US coronavirus crisis is running low again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs.

A national nursing union is concerned that gear has to be reused. A doctors’ association warns that physicians’ offices are closed because they cannot get masks and other supplies. And Democratic members of Congress are pushing the Trump administration to devise a national strategy to acquire and distribute gear in anticipation of the crisis worsening.

“We’re five months into this and there are still shortages of gowns, hair covers, shoe covers, masks, N95 masks,” said Deborah Burger, president of National Nurses United, who cited results from a survey of the union’s members.


‘‘They’re being doled out, and we’re still being told to reuse them,” she added.

Associated Press

In reversal, Ga. universities to now mandate masks

ATLANTA — Georgia’s 26 public universities and colleges will mandate campuswide mask wearing after the state university system reversed itself on Monday.

The University System of Georgia had previously told schools they should “strongly encourage” students and others to wear masks, but said that the system’s 26 universities couldn’t mandate face coverings for their 330,000 students.

Masks became a central point of contention in part because all the universities, at the behest of regents, are planning face-to-face instruction for all students beginning in August.

Faculty and employees have increasingly been demanding that their institutions mandate masks to slow virus transmission, signing letters and petitions. Administrators on Monday evening agreed.

Associated Press