WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The Biden administration wants students to return to the classroom full-time and said Wednesday vaccinating teachers does not have to be part of the equation.
“Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
During a White House COVID-19 briefing, Walensky said the federal government will continue to defer to states on who to vaccinate and when since the rollout still varies.
“We don’t want to have too much supply on the shelves so we’ve left that to the states to manage,” she said.
Walensky said it is also premature to consider requiring the vaccine in certain settings like schools. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the president, agreed.
“It’s no time to talk about that now while we still have a great demand that outstrips the supply,” Fauci said.
Instead, the administration is relying on Congress to safely reopen schools by approving the president’s coronavirus relief package.
“We need the American Rescue Plan passed now,” said Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator.
Zients argues K-12 schools need at least $130 billion for new ventilation systems, personal protective equipment, and widespread testing, but Republicans have proposed $20 billion in their counter plan.
“I am hopeful that we can once again pass a sixth bipartisan covid relief package,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, following the Oval Office meeting with President Biden this week.