WH urges schools to remain open amid Omicron wave

During a briefing on Wednesday, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said tools for kids to remain in school, including vaccinations and testing, are available amid the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.

Video transcript

JEFF ZIENTS: The coming weeks are going to be challenging. We're going to see cases continue to rise because Omicron is a very transmissible variant. But it's important to stay focused on three things.

First, we have the tools to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe, and importantly, we have the tools we need to keep our schools open. The Biden administration has provided $130 billion in American Rescue Plan funding to schools to implement proven prevention measures, including ventilation and social distancing. And an additional $10 billion to support testing in schools.

Last March, we put teachers and school staff at the front of the line to get vaccinated before most adults. Most teachers are vaccinated and now eligible for boosters. And all kids ages 5 and older are eligible for vaccinations. So we have the tools. We know how to keep our kids safe in school.

About 96% of schools are open. Parents want schools open and experts are clear that in-person learning is best for kids' physical and mental health and for their education. And the president couldn't be clearer. Schools in this country should remain open.

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