As learning institutions across the U.S. attempt to reopen mid-pandemic, public education advocates are reprimanding Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for working remotely from her sprawling mansion in Michigan – socially distancing herself – after she commanded, alongside President Donald Trump, that all learning institutions must completely reopen in-full and in-person this September. 

Policymakers, parents and teachers are hotly contesting whether to resume normal learning operations, with at least 17 of the 20 largest school districts across the U.S. already electing to go fully remote this fall. Complaints about DeVos’s absence have erupted as critical decisions regarding schools have emerged.

DeVos is not only the country’s top education official, but she is also a staunch advocate for full and in-person learning.

While major teachers’ unions are threatening to go on strike if schools open without adequate safety measures, the back-to-school plans are already approved for more than four million American students from the 17 districts. The unions are also sparking protests about the potential exposure of millions of teachers and students at risk of infection.