Biden says US Needs Testing Capacity for Schools

Wants Schools to Reopen

AP News
January 25, 2021 - 4:48 pm
President Joe Biden speaks during an event on American manufacturing, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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By The Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said schools should be made “safe and secure” for students and teachers as states look to ramp up in-person learning.

But Biden speaking to reporters on Monday sidestepped a question about whether school districts should wait until teachers are vaccinated before requiring them to return to the classroom.

That issue is at the heart of a standoff between the Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The Chicago Teachers Union has voted to defy an order to return to the classroom to begin in-person learning in one of the nation’s largest public school districts.

While negotiations are ongoing, school district officials say the teachers’ absence would amount to an illegal strike.

“We need testing for teachers as well as students, and we need the capacity, the capacity to know that the circumstance of the school is safe and secure for everyone,” said Biden, when asked about Chicago school district standoff.

Also in Chicago, Lightfoot says the city will focus outreach on 15 largely Black and Latino neighborhoods after early data showed racial disparities among who have received vaccines so far. Lightfoot received her first dose Monday at a hospital on the city’s South Side with other Black leaders who said it was important to show people the vaccine is safe.