US presses again for school reopening despite virus risks Jul 13, 2020 0 2058 12345 AFPWashingtonThe Trump administration on Sunday again pressed for full school reopenings in the fall, even as resurgent COVID-19 infections raised mounting criticism that a premature return to classes could pose a danger of greater spread of the disease.With the virus setting new records by the day in many parts of the country, a top health official warned that “everything should be on the table” and even US President Donald Trump wore a mask in public for the first time.But in two television interviews, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos insisted on the need for schools to reopen, even as several states were registering record numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitals in many cities were struggling to cope.“Kids need to get back to school, they need to get back in the classroom,” DeVos said on CNN, while acknowledging that local conditions should be taken into account. “Families need for kids to get back in the classroom. And it can be done safely.” The pressure to reopen schools has come from the top, with Trump threatening to withhold federal funding from schools that refuse to reopen -- a stance that DeVos reconfirmed.Trump has criticised guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control for the safe reopening of schools, saying they were too rigid and too expensive.But many school systems say the safety of millions of students, teachers and staff can be ensured only with some combination of remote and in-person schooling -- or in some cases remote-only teaching -- and that a fully in-person approach, to be safe, would impose extreme costs.DeVos was pressed as to whether the government would actually withhold federal funds from schools, which generally account for around 10 percent of local school budgets -- a substantial contribution at a time when reopening costs for larger school systems can run to the millions.“There is no desire to take money away,” she said on CNN. “In fact, we want to see schools open and have been committed to ensuring the resources are there to do that.” RELATED ARTICLES Polarised Poles vote in tight presidential election Jul 13, 2020 0 688 Trump finally dons mask as global infections gather pace Jul 13, 2020 0 989 Berlin grants clubs €81,000 lifeline Jul 13, 2020 0 669 UK Labour joins Facebook ad boycott over hateful content AFP London Britain’s main opposition Labour party said on Sunday it has joined a Facebook advertising boycott over allegations that the social network has failed to sufficiently curb hateful content. Hundreds of .. Britain, France agree joint unit to fight migrant traffickers AFP Calais The interior ministers of France and Britain on Sunday signed an agreement creating a new joint police intelligence unit to combat migrant traffickers and reduce the “unsustainable” numbers crossing the .. COVID-19 cases on sharp rise since start of July: AFP tally AFP Paris The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 565,000 people out of nearly 13 million registered cases worldwide, has been accelerating sharply since the start of July, according to a count carried out .. Spain’s Catalonia orders reconfinement of Lerida residents as virus cases spike AFP Madrid The government of Spain’s Catalonia region on Sunday ordered residents in and around the northeastern town of Lerida to go back into home confinement as cases of coronavirus spiked. “The people must stay at .. Bulgaria re-opens night clubs as virus infection cases surge SOFIA: Night clubs and discos in Bulgaria will be allowed to re-open, the health ministry announced on Sunday, just three days after ordering all inside bars shut and despite a continuing rise in coronavirus cases in the .. Top US health official wants ‘everything on the table’ to contain virus WASHINGTON: A top US health official said on Sunday that with deaths from COVID-19 expected to continue rising in coming weeks, “everything should be on the table,” including renewed lockdowns in hard-hit states. ..