According to remarks from Vice President Mike Pence, as reported by White House correspondent Betsy Klein, the vice president’s wife, Karen Pence, will be returning to her physical classroom in Northern Virginia to teach art classes as soon as next week.
The news comes amid the Trump administration’s renewed push to have schools reopen despite the coronavirus pandemic; during an August 12 meeting, Trump reiterated his plans to divert federal funding from closed schools to those which are open.
Of virtual learning, Trump said, “It’s not as good,” which is reflected in statistics on student attendance, grades and other metrics. The Wall Street Journal reported that “Preliminary research suggests students nationwide will return to school in the fall with roughly 70% of learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year, and less than 50% in math, according to projections by NWEA, an Oregon-based nonprofit that provides research to help educators tailor instruction.”
Karen Pence Is Going Back To School
Karen Pence, who is just wrapping up a tour in Omaha, where she attended a campaign rally and also raised awareness on veteran suicide, will be heading back to school before September, according to her husband’s reported remarks.
The tweet thread quotes Pence as saying that his wife plans to return to the classroom, where she teaches art twice a week at a private school called Immanuel Christian School. According to the tweet, “The school is resuming full time, in-person instruction,” despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Pence went on to say that even though teachers are considered essential workers, they were not mandated to go back to school. “There’s no mandate in that…When you’re declared an essential it means you’re going to be prioritized for things like PPE and support. But we want to get our kids back to school but we also want our teachers to know that we’re going to make the resources available,” Klein quoted Pence as saying.
Trump Wants Schools Reopened As Quickly As Possible
Trump has said that he wants schools to reopen as quickly as possible, tweeting on August 14, “I am ready to send $105B to the states to help open schools safely with additional PPE. DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING THIS UP!”
“From the time that we made our way through the difficult days of “45 Days to Slow the Spread,” the President said we want to — we want to work with states to open up America again. But to open up America, we’ve got to open up America’s schools,” Pence said during an August 12 meeting with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and other officials, which Trump echoed:
But the virtual learning is not like being in a classroom, and we’ve learned that, I think, very strongly — in almost all cases. People thought for a long time that would be the answer but it’s — that’s not the answer. The answer is an old-fashioned one, isn’t it?
During that same meeting, Trump said, “If a school is going to be closed, and we’re giving all of this money on the federal basis to a school … I think the money should follow the student,” he said, later adding, “You know, why are we paying if a school is closed? Why are we paying the school? I’d rather give it to the student, the parents, and you do your own thing.”
What Happens If the Second Lady Gets Sick?
With Karen Pence being around children – recently deemed silent spreaders of COVID-19 in a report from Massachusetts General Hospital – many are wondering what will happen if the Second Lady contracts coronavirus.
According to Reuters, 16 members of Congress have tested positive for the virus. In addition, Virginia has 109,879 confirmed cases and 2,427 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University and the county where the school is located, Alexandria, is listed as having 3,186 cases and 61 coronavirus-related deaths.
Earlier this month, Politico reported that all officials would be receiving “random mandatory Covid-19 testing,” with few exceptions. Likely, Karen would be quarantined from Trump (and anyone who may be in contact with Trump) for 14 days and monitored for symptoms, which is what took place when Katie Miller, VP Pence’s press secretary, tested positive for the virus.