President Trump continues to insist that schools across the country must fully reopen in the fall, contending that in-person instruction is both safe and necessary. He says he has “no qualms” about the children and grandchildren in his family returning to school full-time.
His son’s school has plenty of qualms.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, told parents that it is still in the process of choosing between distance learning and a hybrid model that would include both on- and off-campus education. A final decision won’t come until August 10, but full-time on-campus teaching will not be happening any time soon.
That means that Barron Trump, the president’s 14-year-old son and a St. Andrew’s student for the past three years, will either be taking all of his classes in front of a computer or alternating weeks of distance learning with weeks on campus.
At a press conference yesterday, the president acknowledged that delays might be necessary but that “reopening our schools is also critical to ensuring that parents can go to work and provide for their families.”
Translation: Trump wants to reopen schools because when kids go to school their parents can go to work, contributing to an economy that will have to improve dramatically if Trump has any shot of winning legitimate reelection. If the well-being of the kids or the parents was his paramount concern, then he’d be doing a hell of a lot more to help people struggling in the coronavirus economy.
What Barron’s school does is obviously pretty insignificant on a practical level. But that the president can’t even convince his own son’s school to follow his advice doesn’t bode well for his ability to convince public schools to open (without repeating threats to withhold federal funding) or earn the votes of parents worried that going back to full-time school in the fall will put their kids’ health at risk.