President Trump on Wednesday pushed for universities to reopen for classes in the fall amid coronavirus outbreaks on campuses that have reopened — and in some cases closed — this month.
“We have learned one thing, there’s nothing like campus, there’s nothing like being with a teacher as opposed to being on a computer board,” Trump said Wednesday at a briefing. “The iPads are wonderful but you’re not going to learn the same way as being there.”
Trump has long pushed for schools to reopen for in-person classes this fall, as health experts and educators warn about potential issues surrounding students returning for classes.
The president again suggested that COVID-19 does not pose a serious danger to younger Americans after previously falsely stated that children are "essentially immune" to the virus.
“For university students the likelihood of severe illness is less than or equal to the risk of a seasonal flu,” Trump said Wednesday.
Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but health experts have said evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on children is far from clear and studies have found infections in children of all ages.
Trump suggested it is “safer” for students to be back and living on campus.
“Instead of saving lives the decision to close universities could cost lives. It is significantly safer for students to live with other young people than to go home and spread the virus to older Americans,” he said. "The coronavirus is far more deadly for older people and those with underlying conditions.”
Several universities that have reopened have reported outbreaks of COVID-19, forcing some of them to shutter campus just weeks after welcoming students back.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday said it would suspend in-person undergraduate classes after multiple coronavirus clusters, all from student residences, were reported. Notre Dame also announced this week it would shift classes online for at least two weeks following a rise in COVID-19 cases across the campus community.