Trump bets re-opening schools may win votes

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on July 13, 2020 - Duration: 02:13s

Trump bets re-opening schools may win votes

[NFA] The Republican president's re-election effort sees re-opening schools shuttered by the coronavirus as part of a plan to restore his standing among suburban voters.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

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Trump bets re-opening schools may win votes

President Donald Trump's demand for U.S. schools to fully reopen this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic is central to an emerging re-election strategy that seeks to resuscitate his flagging support in a critical electoral sector: the nation's suburbs.

"We have to open our schools.

Open out schools.

Stop this nonsense.

Reopen our schools." Suburbs in key election states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida are filled with affluent swing voters, and many feature large, robust public school systems. A Reuters/Ipsos poll last week found that just 36 percent of voters in the suburbs approved of Trump.

Among suburban women, just three in ten said they supported the president.

Trump's campaign views schools' reopening as one key to an economic recovery, allowing parents with young children to return to work.

He went so far as to threaten to strip schools of federal funds if they fail to comply.

That prompted pushback from some fellow Republicans facing re-election in November, such as Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

“I am completely opposed to any withholding of federal funding to schools that for what may be very good reasons chose not to reopen." But some parents and health experts warn sending kids back to classrooms in the midst of an epidemic could be dangerous.

Nikki King is a high school teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"I don't want to get sick.

I don't want my family to get sick.

I don't want my students to get sick." Many districts plan to offer a hybrid of in-person and online learning, and say they will require masks and social distancing on school grounds.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued recommendations that schools test for COVID-19, split students into small groups, serve packaged lunches in classrooms instead of cafeterias, seat students at least six feet apart and use partitions when social distancing is not possible.

Trump last week attacked the CDC guidelines that he said were too tough, expensive and impractical.

On Sunday, U.S. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi fired back, telling CNN the CDC school guidelines should be federally mandated.

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