WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his administration hopes most schools are going to open in the fall and they plan to put pressure on state and local leaders to make it happen.
"So, we're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open," Trump said during a White House event on "Safely Reopening America's Schools. "And it's very important, very important for our country, very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we're going to be putting a lot of pressure on open your schools in the fall."
The president's remarks came one day after he tweeted, "SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" and later claimed without evidence that Joe Biden and "the Democrats don’t want to open schools in the Fall for political reasons, not for health reasons! They think it will help them in November."
Trump brought up that notion again during Tuesday's dialogue with school and health officials at the White House, saying that some people "think it's going to be good for them politically so they keep the schools closed, no way."
Schools around the U.S. shut down suddenly this year as COVID-19 cases first began rising. That led to a hodgepodge of distance learning, on-the-fly homeschooling and, for some families, a lack of any school at all.
At the end of April, Trump told states to “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, even though dozens already said it would be unsafe for students to return until the summer or fall.
At the end of Tuesday's event, the president criticized Harvard's "ridiculous" plan to hold all classes remotely for the upcoming school year.
"I think it's an easy way out. I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves, you wanna know the truth," Trump remarked before again urging everyone to open schools this fall.
Right now, school districts across America are in the midst of making decisions over how to resume classes amid the pandemic. The plans vary from district to district and state to state.
The decisions are even more complicated in districts where the coronavirus case count is rising.
Meanwhile, medical experts have expressed concerns for children’s development and mental health. The American Academy of Pediatrics said it “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.