President Donald Trump tweeted on July 8 that he would be putting pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change their guidelines on reopening schools – and he did. The new guidelines that Trump announced at a press conference on Thursday reveals that the tone of the guidelines has changed to support the opening of schools, calling it “critical” that the children are able to attend in-person.

The overall guidelines have remained much of the same regarding hygiene, still promoting social distancing, masks and frequent hand-washing. However, Anya Kamenetz, NPR’s education correspondent, pointed out that a statement about how “virtual-only classes, activities, and events” are the safest option has been removed.

A section of the new CDC school reopening guidelines is dedicated to discussing the importance of opening schools, pointing out how schools support communities and provide valuable services, especially to those students with additional learning needs and those without access to computers or the internet at home.

The guidelines also cite research that children are less likely to contract and spread the coronavirus. Still, teachers and staff face significant risks as schools reopen, and many school workers have been advised to write their wills.

Trump appears to perceive the schools’ reopening as a political issue rather than one of safety. He pointed out on July 8 that other countries, particularly European ones, as examples of schools that “are open with no problems.” He threatened to cut off funding to schools if they did not open.

More recently, Trump said that the White House recommended providing $105 billion to schools as a part of the coronavirus relief bill, but only if schools physically reopen.

“If the school is closed, the money should follow the student.”

He did note that some districts that have been severely affected may have to push back reopening by “weeks.”