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Former Big Apple mayor Mike Bloomberg urged President Biden to “stand up” to unions and tell teachers to “suck it up” and return to in-person learning, calling virtual learning “a disgrace.”
The former candidate for president sounded off on teachers’ resistance to the push to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic, calling on the president to push the prioritization of children’s wellbeing.
“It’s time for Joe Biden to stand up and to say, the kids are the most important things, important players here,” Bloomberg said Wednesday on MSNBC. “And the teachers just are going to have to suck it up and stand up and provide an education.”
He added, “Teachers say, ‘well I don’t want to go back because it’s dangerous.’ We have a lot of city and state and federal employees who run risks, that’s part of the job. You run risks to help America, to help your state, to help your city, to help your family and there’s just no reason not to have the schools open.”
Slamming virtual learning as “a joke — worse than a joke,” the billionaire philanthropist said the remote instruction hurts “poor people” the most.
“Poor people don’t have iPads, they don’t have WiFi, they don’t have somebody at home to sit during the day and force the child to pay attention and without that, the virtual learning just does not exist,” he said.
“The president has to stand up to the unions,” he added.
“That should send a clear message to governors, mayors and teachers union leaders: It’s time to open the schools,” he wrote in the piece.
On Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said teachers do not need to be vaccinated in order to reopen schools.
“There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen,” she said at the White House coronavirus briefing, adding, “safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely.”
In his first week in office, Biden signed an executive order requiring the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide federal guidance on reopening, “with the goal of getting a majority of K-8 schools safely open in 100 days.”