During the first presidential debate, which aired on Tuesday, September 29, President Donald Trump continued to push for the country's reopening amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, despite Joe Biden urging that safety comes first, especially in our school systems. While Trump continuously demands for school reopening, the former reality star’s youngest son, Barron Trump, continues to practice virtual learning; the 14-year-old is in ninth grade.
On August 3, Trump tweeted, "OPEN THE SCHOOLS!!!" Yet, at the presidential debate, Biden pointed out that COVID-related deaths have only increased. "He is insisting that we go forward and open, when you have almost half the states in America with a significant increase in COVID cases and COVID deaths. And he wants to open it up more," Biden said. "Why aren't schools open? Because it costs a lot of money to open them safely."
Among the schools taking precautions for their staff and students is St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Md., attended by Trump's young son. Contrary to Trump's wishes, Barron is learning from home until at least next month.
According to the "Important Message About St. Andrew's Reopening Plan" on the school's website, remote learning will continue through at least October 9.
"As you know, in early August, based on health data and the guidance of health officials and advisors, we decided to implement distance learning for Kindergarten through Grade 12 through October 9," the note began. "This decision has allowed us to monitor post-Labor Day changes in regional health statistics, learn from other schools, and further refine our rigorous safety protocols based on evolving health guidance and our own experience to date. We have remained in regular contact with health officials and other advisors since then as we have determined the best timing and sequence for transitioning to K-12 hybrid learning."
In August, CNN obtained a letter from head of school Robert Kosasky, in which he revealed that K-12 school would begin in early September — but not in person. According to an order by a Montgomery County, Md., official, private schools have to be virtual until at least October 1. However, over the summer, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said that it would be up to private schools to determine if they should open or not.
"The Montgomery County directive aligns with our most current thinking about how to open school well in September while protecting the health of our students, families and employees," the letter states, which explains that the school would like students to stay home.
Barron has attended St. Andrew’s since 2017.
On the school's website, the note outlined their "hybrid model," which will start next month. "We expect that every member of our community will act responsibly to make a safe return to campus possible," the statement read.
According to the note, students must "practice the same daily health protocols outside of school — including social distancing, frequent handwashing and regular use of face coverings in public areas — that we require on campus."
Students must "avoid large gatherings and unnecessary travel." If any family did travel abroad or to an area of the United States that has a high risk of infection, they need to return "to this region by September 28 to allow for a two-week quarantine period before we begin returning to campus."
Lastly, if the student lives with anyone who might be experiencing COVID-like symptoms, they must quarantine for 14 days until the "ill person receives a negative COVID test result."
Even though over 200,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, Trump insisted that "tremendous progress" has been made during the debate. "And I say, and I’ll say it all the time: We’re rounding the corner."