By MICHELLE STODDART and LAUREN KING, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — This is Day 30 of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how events are unfolding Wednesday. All times Eastern:
Feb 17, 9:13 am
Harris faces pushback on school reopenings, teacher vaccinations
Harris was interviewed on NBC News’ Today show Wednesday morning, reiterating much of what President Biden said Tuesday night in his CNN town hall in Milwaukee, including doubling down on Biden’s statement that there will be enough vaccine available by the end of July for any American who wants one. Harris could not offer a straight answer on whether teachers should have to return to the classroom before they are vaccinated. Despite sidestepping many questions, she did say the administration wants to make vaccines for teachers a priority.
Harris was asked twice about the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends against reopening schools in so-called COVID-19 red zones — effectively meaning the majority of students should not be back in the classroom — and attempted to dodge the question.
“Well, let’s first say this, that in the last four weeks, schools are opening every week, more schools are opening. It is because we are supplementing what needs to happen around the vaccinations getting to states, but also because folks — we’re seeing progress. When folks are wearing masks, when they’re getting vaccinated, when they’re social distancing, we’re seeing progress there,” Harris argued, adding “what they have recommended are exactly that, recommendations, about how to reopen safely if they’ve been closed, how to stay open if they have been opened.”
Harris also sought to clarify the administration’s goals on reopening schools, saying the administration wants “as many K through 8 schools as possible” to reopen within the first 100 days. “Our goal is that it will be five days a week. So we have to work to achieve that goal.”
Harris weighed in on vaccinations for teachers as well, saying the administration viewed them as a priority, but it was ultimately up to the states to create their distribution guidelines.
“The states are making decisions individually about where they will be on the list of who gets vaccinated. I believe they should be a priority. The president believes they should be a priority,” Harris said.
Harris also defended the massive price on COVID-19 relief comparing the pandemic to a natural disaster, saying “a national emergency, a big problem, requires a big solution.”
Harris again did not bite on impeachment, dodging the question to argue she is focused on pandemic relief.
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