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Biden says safely opening schools is ‘national emergency,’ Trump has no plan

The Democratic presidential candidate now heads to Kenosha, Wisconsin, two days after President Trump visited the city, healing from a police shooting and the deadly protests that followed

Updated: September 2, 2020 - 6:53pm

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday said that the need to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic is a "national emergency" and suggested that President Trump should be doing more to safely returns students and teachers to classrooms.

"Mr. President, that is your job," Biden said to a small gathering of reporters from a site in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. "That’s what you should be focused on – getting our kids back to school."

The address marks the second time this week that Biden has spoken outside his Delaware homes, making good on a promise to hit the campaign trail after the Democratic National Convention a few weeks ago.

Biden said Wednesday that if he were president, he would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make sure all K-12 schools received "full access to disaster relief and emergency assistance funds" that would allow them to safely reopen and operate, calling the issue a "national emergency."

“We need emergency support funding for our schools and we need it now," said Biden, who also suggested Trump has no national plan to reopen schools, largely shuttered across the country since the start of the pandemic in March and now mostly limited to online learning.

The 77-year-old former vice president is set to travel Thursday to Kenosha, Wisconsin, two days after Trump visited the city and spoke with residents and officials about the Aug. 23 incident in which Jacob Blake, a black male, was shot in the back multiple times by police, sparking violent and deadly protests.

On Monday, Biden spoke in Pittsburgh, where he blamed Trump for a litany of missteps and national problems including failing to calm social justice protests across the country, sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, another black male, in the custody of Minneapolis police.

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