Everything the Biden Administration Is Doing to Reopen Schools

The new adminsitration is throwing everything it has at the problem. But will it be enough?

Joe Biden speaks with a flag

“It should be a national priority to get our kids back into school and keep them in school,” Joe Biden said in December. “If Congress provides the funding, we need to protect students, educators and staff. If states and cities put strong public health measures in place that we all follow, then my team will work to see that the majority of our schools can be open by the end of my first 100 days.”

This pledge was one of the more aggressive statements Biden made during the transition, both due to its aggressiveness and the logistical problems in opening schools when they’re largely under local and state control. Add that to teacher’s unions understandably protecting their members and students in negotiations with school systems, demanding time-consuming steps like installing adequate ventilation and waiting for teachers to be vaccinated before they return to the classroom, and it’s clear that Biden’s promise to reopen most schools by the end of the first 100 days is a genuinely ambitious one.

But 42 days into the Biden presidency, and it sure looks like the president is doing his damnedest to keep his word. The COVID-19 relief bill as currently constituted contains $170 billion in funding for K-12 schools, fulfilling one of the conditions of his pledge. That bill will pass soon, and on Tuesday, March 2nd, Biden announced other plans to get schools open quickly.

Here’s what else the Biden administration is doing to reopen the majority of schools for in-person instruction by April 30, when the clock runs out on its first 100 days in office.

Giving school staff vaccine priority.

direct every other state to make the vaccine available to teacherswhere he also announced that by the end of May

Gathering data on school closing and reopening.

Recently confirmed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona

Use the Department of Education as an advocacy organization.

an op-ed for USA Today