The issue was highlighted during a standoff between Chicago’s teachers union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot earlier this month that led to days of canceled classes before an uneasy truce was struck.
Biden quibbled with the media’s framing of the issue, saying it gives the public an inaccurate sense of how many schools are closed.
“It’s always going to get [on the] front page,” Biden said of local school closures. “It’s always going to be the top of the news.”
But he also said that schools should have the tools necessary to operate safely, and predicted that closures will begin to dissipate. Biden, who closely aligned himself with educators during his presidential campaign, conceded that some schools may not have prudently used the resources available to them
“All that money is there,” he said. “There’s billions of dollars made available that’s there.”
The administration has repeatedly said that schools can operate safely, even as the virus rips through communities and leaves many districts with staffing shortages and students isolating at home.
Nevertheless, Republicans have sought to pin the recent spate of closures in Chicago and elsewhere on Biden and Democrats for not doing enough to push back on groups advocating for temporary closures.