(White House Press Release, September 4, 2020)
Vice President Mike Pence today led a discussion with college presidents, state and local leaders, the Secretary of Education, and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to brief them on the principles contained in the recently released “Recommendations for College Students.” These principles are intended to keep schools open while mitigating community spread.
The Vice President highlighted a number of states and institutions that have taken innovative and collaborative approaches to return students to their campuses. For example: Colorado State University is using surveillance testing to monitor the potential spread of COVID-19 and the University of Notre Dame quickly and efficiently dealt with an outbreak on campus. The Vice President also emphasized the importance of keeping our schools open and students on or near campus, and praised the efforts of all essential workers who have made school reopening possible, including teachers.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provided remarks on the importance of keeping schools open, with the safety of students being the utmost priority.
CDC Director Redfield reaffirmed the Federal government’s recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and avoiding crowded indoor gatherings.
Dr. Scott Atlas and Ambassador Debbie Birx outlined the Administration’s recommendations for college students in order to keep schools open safely. Along with following CDC mitigation protocols, students were encouraged to stay on or near campus as much as possible, to minimize exposure to higher risk individuals.
Ambassador Birx led a discussion with Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota, and Father John Jenkins, President of the University of Notre Dame, to highlight the best practices they have implemented. She also discussed trends and examples that she has seen across the nation from her recent visits to 26 states.
Participants from the White House Coronavirus Task Force:
- The Vice President
- Secretary Betsy DeVos, Department of Education
- Director Robert Redfield, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), HHS
- Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator
- Scott Atlas, M.D., Special Advisor to the President