President Joe Biden is sending wife Jill on the road and using his White House bully pulpit as the White House struggles to meet its self-imposed 100 day deadline on schools reopening.
Biden pledged to have in-person classes resume by May and the White House has said that confirmation of an Education secretary and the passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill would help make that happen.
But with Miguel Cardona confirmed as head of the Education Department and Congress on the cusp of approving the COVID relief legislation, it's becoming clear more is needed to be done.
In the United States, 31 per cent of K-12 students attend 'virtual-only' schools, while 43 per cent attend in-person classes and 26 per cent attend 'hybrid' schools that offer a mix of the two, according to the website Burbio that tracks such information.
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President Joe Biden announced a program Tuesday to get educators at least one coronavirus vaccine shot by the end of March
President Biden is sending first lady Jill Biden on the road to push his school opening plan - above the first lady boards her plane for the trip to Connecticut and Pennsylvania
A New York City classroom - schools are controlled on a local level and the federal government cannot order them to reopen
Control of schools is handled at the local level and each district faces its own challenges on resuming full, in-person instruction. Some buildings don't have room for social distancing, others don't have funds for the extra cleaning or additional staff and some face opposition from teachers who don't want to go back to the classroom with the COVID vaccine.
Biden's COVID relief plan includes $130 billion for the nation’s schools to help them with costs associated with reopening.
The federal government cannot mandate schools to open but can pressure them.
Meanwhile, Biden announced Tuesday that he would use his federal powers to prioritize educators and child care workers for vaccine shots this month.
'My challenge to all states, territories and the district of Columbia is this. We want every educator, school staff member, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March,' Biden said.