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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says “we can keep our children safe” in schools amid rising COVID cases

For the second time through the coronavirus pandemic, children, dad and mom and educators are going through points returning to high school. Like most children, Jeremy Agosto and Nana Okwaning wish to return.

“You know, it’s going to help everyone mentally, ’cause, like, you can actually have people to talk to, relate to, new friends, teachers help you,” Agosto stated. 

“When I was in school, I felt safe. I felt like I was actually learning something,” Okwaning stated.

Both are vaccinated and play on the soccer staff on the Harry Truman High School in the Bronx. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona lately visited their college to speak with pupil athletes a couple of secure return to the classroom and the sector.

“We know students learn best in the classroom. We know that for their — not only their academic needs, but their social and emotional well-being, they belong in the classroom,” Cardona informed CBS News correspondent Meg Oliver.

But a brand new CBS News ballot finds 69% of fogeys are involved their children will get COVID-19 in college. Cases are skyrocketing amongst children 12 to 17, up virtually 1,400% since June.

“Is it safe to open full-time with the Delta variant?” Oliver requested Cardona.

“You know, as a father, I wouldn’t send my children in if I didn’t feel they were safe,” he stated. “I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do for my own children. My children are going back to school. My children are getting on the soccer field. My children are getting on that volleyball court. 

“Because I do know as a father, that their psychological well being relies on their means to interact in the group. And, I’m lucky that my children are of the age the place they can get vaccinated, and I do know some dad and mom will say, ‘Well, my children haven’t got the vaccine.’ But the fact is, if we observe the mitigation methods, we can keep our children secure.”

Much of the concern coming from parents is the alarming rise of infections in kids. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in just three weeks the number of COVID cases in children nearly tripled, though hospitalization rates remain low at only 2%, and deaths are rare, with less than 0.03% of cases involving kids.

Cardona said reassuring parents is an “ongoing job for educators throughout the nation.”

“I acknowledge that concern,” he said. “I skilled that concern as a dad or mum. But if our schools are open and sincere with dad and mom, and take the questions that they’ve and allay their fears, and even present them examples of it, give them excursions of the varsity, dad and mom will see that their children can be secure.”

The problem of vaccines can be a security issue with regards to the children. According to the CDC, 54.7% of 16- to 17-year-olds have acquired one dose of the vaccine, and amongst 12- to 15-year-olds, that quantity is 45.4%, the bottom vaccination rate for any age group.

Asked if there must be a vaccine mandate for lecturers and college students, Cardona stated he “would assist it.”

“I know that vaccines work. And I know that across the country 90% of the educators have gotten vaccinated,” he stated. “I don’t have that authority to mandate vaccines. But what I can tell you is in those places where they’re relaxed about it, we have hospitals that are overrun. And those places where they are getting vaccinated, we’re able to function more normally.”

The soccer staff at Harry Truman all plan to be absolutely vaccinated when college reopens in September. 

“One main reason I got my vaccine was to be, like, a role model for my other teammates, because I know some of them are, like, hesitant,” Okwaning stated.

Their head coach, John Shepherd, says college students returning to high school is important.

“Somewhere maybe around a third of our student athletes I would say were at danger for slipping through the cracks,” he informed Oliver.

Shepherd has been spending his summer season calling properties and making an attempt to get them to come back again.

“When all of the circumstances align, and a student can return safely to participating in, you know, all the things that they love doing, it’s just great to be able to be a part of it,” he stated.

Part of the secure return to high school comes with a advice from the CDC that every one college students and workers put on masks, and simply final week, President Biden ordered Cardona to take motion — together with doable authorized motion — towards governors who ban masking in public schools.

“It saddens me to think that poor policies and political agendas are going to get in the way of those kids getting on the field. We need to follow the mitigation strategies that we know work. Get the politics out of this. Let the education leaders do their jobs,” Cardona stated. “To be very honest with you, I wish we didn’t have to wear masks. I know my own children, they don’t want to wear masks. I have mask fatigue myself. But if it means giving my children an opportunity to be in school, I’m for it.”

A CBS News ballot discovered 36% of fogeys consider masks must be elective. For any state planning to defy masks necessities, Cardona stated the Biden administration is ready to analyze via the Office for Civil Rights. Eight states have banned them altogether.