The Biden administration bowed to the nation’s largest teachers union and changed its masking guidance for schools in May, newly discovered emails from Americans for Public Trust indicate.
One day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated people did not have to wear masks, the National Education Association threatened the White House with a scathing letter demanding an explanation.
The NEA’s first draft of the letter demanding clarification on masking complained that the CDC “releasing the guidance without accompanying school-related updates creates confusion and fuels the internal politicization of this basic health and safety issue.”
“CDC has consistently said, and studies support, that mitigation measures, including to protect the most vulnerable, remain necessary in schools and institutions of higher education – particularly because no elementary or middle school students, and few high school students, have been vaccinated,” the draft continued. “This will also make it hard for school boards and leaders of institutions of higher education to do the right thing by maintaining mitigation measures. We need CDC clarification right away.”
After corresponding with the White House’s director of labor engagement Erika Dinkel-Smith, who orchestrated a phone call between CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and the NEA’s President Becky Pringle, the teachers union released a toned-down version of their original statement to the public and the corporate media who, according to the emails, were “targeting” the union for a response to the guidance change.
“CDC’s new guidance on vaccinated people highlights again the critical importance of everyone, including all students who are now eligible, getting vaccinated as quickly as possible,” the new statement from Pringle said. “CDC’s current recommendation that schools continue to implement existing school-related guidance, including the mandatory and correct use of wearing masks and continuing of social distancing, is an important and welcome clarification about the protections that need to be in place in our schools.”
“All schools teaching students from kindergarten through grade 12 should continue to implement proper mask-wearing and distancing at least through the end of the 2020-21 school year,” she added. “These key mitigation measures for safe in-person instruction should remain in place in schools and institutions of higher education to protect all students and others who are not vaccinated.”
One day later, the CDC changed its guidance to recommend universal masking in schools regardless of whether teachers, staff, and eligible students were vaccinated or not.
“This batch of emails came just weeks after we already exposed the teachers unions influenced the CDC on school openings,” Americans for Public Trust Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News. “Lo and behold, less than two weeks later, they’re at it again, but this time in relation to mask guidance.”
The administration later fully reversed its initial guidance, recommending everyone (not just students) wear masks regardless of vaccination status, after modifying it to accommodate the teachers union’s agenda.
Earlier this year, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky publicly admitted that the agency’s new school reopening guidelines were informed by the opinions of anti-in-person-learning teachers unions. This input from some of the same people who have stalled school reopenings in cities across the nation, Walensky said, resulted in “direct changes to the guidance.”