Biden Plans a Speech Faulting Trump Over Reopening Schools

Joseph R. Biden Jr., pressing his argument that President Trump is failing the country with his handling of the coronavirus, plans on Wednesday to make the case that Mr. Trump is hurting the nation’s parents, teachers and schoolchildren with his push for schools to reopen.

Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, a community college professor, are scheduled to receive a briefing in Wilmington, Del., from a group of experts, including Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who served as secretary of health and human services for President Barack Obama and is now the president of American University, and Linda Darling-Hammond, the president of the California State Board of Education.

Mr. Biden will then give a speech on what his campaign described as Mr. Trump’s failures on the pandemic as well as Mr. Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely.

Symone Sanders, a senior adviser for the Biden campaign, said Mr. Trump was “barreling forward trying to reopen schools because he thinks it will help his own re-election.”

“We believe this is a key contrast for voters,” Ms. Sanders said. “President Trump, who continues to ignore the science and has no plan to get the virus under control, and Joe Biden, who is working with the experts and putting together an effective plan to beat the virus and reopen schools safely.”

Mr. Trump has demanded that schools reopen this fall and threatened to cut federal funding for school districts that defied his wishes. But his effort to pressure schools did not have the effect he desired, and many districts decided to begin the school year with remote instruction.

The lone exception among the country’s largest school districts is New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio reached a deal with unions on Tuesday to begin remote and in-person classes on Sept. 21, 10 days later than had been planned.

In July, Mr. Biden released his own plan for safely reopening schools, which emphasized deference to local decision-making on whether and how schools could reopen in a safe manner. His plan also called for Congress to pass an emergency funding package to help enable schools to adapt for reopening.

The Biden campaign is also deploying Dr. Biden to help draw attention to the issue of reopening schools. On Tuesday, she visited a school in Wilmington to kick off a multiweek back-to-school tour that the campaign said would include in-person or virtual appearances in eight battleground states.


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