President Biden’s push to reopen schools nationwide could become bogged down in California, where powerful unions are demanding teachers receive COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to the classroom.
Although dates have been set in New York City and Chicago to send children back to elementary and middle schools, there are no such agreements in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, dragging out the process nearly a year after students began learning remotely.
It’s a thorny political problem for Biden, who pledged to reopen the majority of schools serving kindergarten through eighth grade by April 30, coinciding with his 100th day in office. The president is intensely proud of his support from organized labor, but he has also pledged to let science guide his approach to the pandemic, and a growing body of research shows that schools can be safe even without vaccinations.
Failing to get students back into classrooms would undermine Biden’s efforts to boost the economy by freeing parents to return more fully to work and derail one of his administration’s earliest promises.
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