President-elect Joe Biden reiterated his call for most schools to reopen within his first 100 days in office during a virtual call Wednesday afternoon with a bipartisan group of about 30 state governors.
Biden has emphasized school reopenings as a key initial step in his incoming administration’s plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The president-elect called on governors to assist in ensuring that schools within their states have the resources they need to safely reopen.
“I’m going to ask, and I know it’s going to be controversial with some of you, but I’m going to ask that we’re going to be able to open schools at the end of one hundred days,” Biden said during the call. “That’s going to take a lot of money, but we know how to do it. If we have the money and the funding everything from ventilation to more teachers to smaller class sizes — a whole range of things.”
Biden asked Congress earlier this month to provide the funding necessary for schools to secure necessary equipment and enact their safety plans. In order meet his goal, most schools would have to resume in-person learning by the end of April.
Other key pillars of the president-elect’s plan include a rapid and equitable rollout of coronavirus vaccinations after the FDA’s approval for an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine and an increased emphasis on mask-wearing throughout the country. Biden requires the cooperation of state governors to enact mask mandates.
During the call with governors, Biden noted that his plan calls for 100 million vaccine doses to be administrated within his first one hundred days in office. He suggested the need for an education campaign to teach the public about what to expect from the rollout.
“I think it’s one of the greatest operational challenges we’ve ever faced,” Biden said regarding the vaccine rollout. “It is a Herculean task.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.