At least 4,738 public schools across the nation have had in-person classes disrupted this week due to COVID-19 concerns while the Biden administration calls on schools to remain open.
"As the President said yesterday, he wants schools to be open," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing Wednesday. "We know they can be open safely, and we’re here to help make that happen. And he agrees with medical, scientific, and education experts that, because of the historic work we’ve done, we are more than equipped to ensure schools are open."
Psaki said that 96% of schools are open. Chicago Public Schools, one of the nation's largest districts, made headlines Wednesday after the teachers union voted to return to online learning.
"So, long story short: We want schools to be open, the President wants them to be open, and we’re going to continue to use every resource and work to ensure that’s the case," Psaki said.
A record number of more than 1 million new COVID cases were reported Monday in the United States. The peak is expected to come by the end of January, largely driven by the omicron variant.
The number of school closures is up from Tuesday when 3,229 K-12 public schools were disrupted, according to Burbio.
The White House has reportedly distributed $130 billion in funding to school districts for COVID "mitigation measures."
The Biden administration is also encouraging children to be vaccinated against COVID and instituted a test-to-stay policy to keep kids in schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday expanded Pfizer booster vaccine eligibility to children ages 12 to 15.