Cory Turner, Eda Uzunlar, WOSU |
With many U.S. schools still shuttered or operating on a limited basis, and millions of children learning remotely (or trying to), the stakes are high for Miguel Cardona. He is President Biden’s pick to run the U.S. Department of Education, and if confirmed, he’ll be charged with making good on Biden’s promise to re-open most K-12 schools during the new administration’s first 100 days.
When asked Monday if that goal was “too optimistic,” Cardona pushed back: “No, I think it’s strong leadership.”
That answer came in an interview with Lucy Nalpathanchil, host of Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live, in which Cardona reflected on what it would take to meet Biden’s goal.
“Ultimately, we can only safely reopen our schools while we are able to reduce spread and contain the virus,” he said, an acknowledgement that, at the moment, the virus’ spread remains unchecked in many communities.
“At the national level, that’s critically important that we work with CDC, that we work with Health and Human Services to make sure that the decisions that are being made around schools are in line with what we know [can] protect people,” Cardona said.
But Cardona also made clear he does not see it as the education secretary’s job — or even within the secretary’s authority — to force school districts to adopt these science-based strategies, including requiring teachers and students to wear masks.
The department’s role “is really to support states who are working to develop policies… to safely reopen schools,” Cardona said.