CDC, Once Sidelined, Now a Puppet?

Monday, February 15, 2021

Among his many, many, pandemic-related, unforced errors, one of Donald Trump's worst was to sideline the Centers for Disease Control. Last year's voter understandably could have expected better of a Biden Administration.

The bar was indeed that low.

Recent news to the effect that Biden wants to close schools nationwide despite the fact that they can operate safely during the pandemic has popped up in conservative news and social media. Indeed, Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, is on the record for standing up to an alleged plan by the Biden administration to shutter schools nationwide.

I perused the news this morning, lost a link to a story that implied Biden's educator-wife pressured the CDC to adopt "stricter" reopening standards, and ultimately was unable to tell what (if anything) the President is up to from the reports -- other than perhaps trying to mollify the more powerful teachers' unions/lower voter expectations regarding his earlier promise to get schools open...

So I decided to look into the horse's mouth: What does the CDC have to say about this?

The guidelines, last updated on the 12th, say:

Image by Pablo Hermoso, via Unsplash, license.
K-12 schools should be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures in the community have been employed, and the first to reopen when they can do so safely. This implies that schools should be prioritized for reopening and remaining open for in-person instruction over nonessential businesses and activities. [bold added]
Obviously, the teachers' unions will use when they can do do safely as freely as possible, as witness such places as Chicago, California, and northern Virginia. And I will admit this makes me nervous with a leftist administration in charge.

A bit later on, we have:
Schools that are open for in-person instruction (either fully open or hybrid) may decide to remain open even at high (red) levels of community transmission. These decisions should be guided by information on school-specific factors such as mitigation strategies implemented, local needs, stakeholder input, the number of cases among students, teachers, and staff, and school experience. A decision to remain open should involve considerations for further strengthening mitigation strategies and continuing to monitor cases to reassess decisions. This should be driven by a “classroom-first” approach; in-person instruction should be prioritized over extracurricular activities including sports and school events, a common source of school transmission, to minimize risk of transmission in schools and protect in-person learning. [bold added]
The map (at second link) so many conservatives are understandably upset about does not appear here, but I don't see the CDC proclaiming that the schools have to be closed soley on the basis of an area experiencing high community transmission.

As best as I can tell, De Santis may just be tossing out red meat for his base -- or Biden could indeed be getting ready to pressure local officials to close schools. I don't know one way or the other, but I don't get from the CDC any impression that they are calling for that lunatic idea, or have been worse than sidelined by being made a sock-puppet of the teachers' unions.

In public policy and in our personal lives, we must listen to science, but scientists must be free of pressure in order to be able to discover and describe reality: Neither ignoring science nor Lysenkoizing it are acceptable public policy alternatives.

-- CAV

No comments: