Pence says schools reopenings 'best thing for our kids'

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence kept up the Trump administration’s push for reopening schools and universities, insisting Friday that it can be done safely even amid public worries about the health risks posed by the coronavirus.

Pence told a small audience at Marian University in Indianapolis that having children back in classrooms was a necessary step to seeing more parents returning to jobs. The remarks came even as President Donald Trump on Thursday acknowledged that some schools in virus hot spots may need to delay their reopening this fall.

“Opening up our schools again is the best thing for our kids,” Pence said. “It’s also the best thing for working families.”

The former Indiana governor heard administrators at the private Catholic university describe their safety steps toward starting the fall semester next month.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, joined Pence at the event.

Pence discussed the importance of in-person learning for at-risk students, citing resources for counseling and special needs and children who rely upon school lunches.

“The risk of the coronavirus to healthy children is very low,” Pence said. “It’s also important to remember that there are real costs, far beyond academics, to our kids if they’re not in school.”

The science of how COVID-19 affects children is unclear, as several studies suggest, but don’t prove, that children are less likely to become infected than adults and more likely to have only mild symptoms.

Updated guidance issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged school leaders to work with local officials to make decisions about the fall, taking into account the virus’ rate of transmission in the area. It laid out a range of measures depending on the level of spread. If there’s minimal or moderate spread, it recommends social distancing, masks and increased sanitation.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released this week found 46% of Americans think major adjustments are needed for K-12 schools to reopen. Another 31% think instruction should not be in person this fall.

Pence spoke at the university event after attending a fundraiser for Republican state attorney general candidate Todd Rokita at the suburban Indianapolis home of a supporter.

More From

  • What's keeping Washington from a virus deal, explained

    Hopes that talks on a huge COVID-19 relief deal would generate an agreement soon are fizzling, with both the Trump administration negotiating team and top congressional Democrats adopting hard lines and testy attitudes. Now that President Donald Trump has issued a series of executive edicts and the national political conventions are set to begin, consuming the attention of both Trump and top Democrats, the talks seem to be on an indefinite pause. The urgency has evaporated now that rank-and-file lawmakers have been set free for the August recess, and while both sides still want an agreement — and pressure is likely to remain high — it’s looking more like a September legislating effort than an August one.

  • Big Ten pulls plug on fall football amid COVID-19 concerns

    The Big Ten won't play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, becoming the first of college sports' power conferences to yield to the pandemic. The move announced Tuesday comes six day after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions. Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision.

  • Sam Houston, Youngstown State set future series

    Youngstown State will visit Sam Houston State on Aug. 30, 2025 at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Texas, before it hosts the Bearkats in a return matchup on Sept. 4, 2027 at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio, FBSchedules.com reported Tuesday. Youngstown State, a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, has won four FCS national titles and appeared in the championship game three other times, while Southland Conference member Sam Houston State was the national runner-up in 2011 and '12.

  • AP WAS THERE: 1988 Seoul Olympics

    With the Tokyo Olympics postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press is looking back at the history of Summer Games. This story was published in The Clarksdale Press Register (Miss.) on Oct. 3, 1988. The story, a review of the major developments at the Seoul Games as it ended, is reprinted here as it ran using the contemporary style, terminology and including any published errors.