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As I See It

Whether or when schools open not up to the President

Scott Robert Shaw

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We all want schools to be able to reopen in the fall. But wishing it doesn’t make it so. Schools across the country, including in La Crosse, are trying to make the difficult decision about how to safely reopen schools during a pandemic. They are meeting regularly with health officials to discuss all possible contingencies. President Trump is insisting that schools reopen, and it sounds like he would like it to be business as usual. He is pushing back against guidance from the CDC calling for safety measures, like testing, avoiding large groups, reducing sharing of school supplies and serving packaged lunches in classrooms rather than cafeterias. Trump says those restrictions are too severe, and too expensive. He also claims if schools stay closed it will be for political reasons, and he is threatening to cut off funding to schools which stay shuttered. But the decision to reopen is not up to the federal government. It is up to states and individual school districts. It is not clear what federal funding could be withheld, as schools are primarily funded on the state and local level. There are many valid reasons for wanting to reopen the doors of our schools, and many valid reasons for not doing so. That is what our school districts are weighing, as they, not the President, have the authority to decide that difficult question.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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