Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the guidelines for reopening schools will not be revised, but additional reference documents will be provided.
“Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities that are trying to open K-through-12s,” Redfield said on Good Morning America Thursday. “It’s not a revision of the guidelines; it’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward.”
In response to comments about the guidelines being too tough or impractical, Redfield said this depends on how the guidelines are put together.
“Right now, we’re continuing to work with the local jurisdictions to how they want to take the portfolio of guidance that we’ve given to make them practical for their schools to reopen,” he said.
Redfield described the guidelines as “intentionally non-prescriptive,” and said that the range of guidelines given were to offer schools the option of what will work best for them.
Redfield said the CDC would work with any local jurisdiction on how best to use the guidelines to reopen their schools in the safest way, and that it would “personally sadden” him if people were to use the guidelines and concerns about them as a reason to stay closed.
“It’s a critical public health initiative right now to get these schools reopened and to do it safely,” Redfield said.
During a press briefing a few hours later, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would issue new guidance on reopening schools next week. Both he and the CDC’s director said the agency’s recommendations should not be viewed as a barrier to returning children to classrooms.