The top USA education official downplayed the risk of reopening schools in the fall, a high priority of President Trump, and repeated a threat to cut funding to schools that don't fully resume in-person learning as educators wrestle with the risk of the coronavirus.
DeVos, in two television interviews on Sunday, insisted on the need for schools to reopen, even as several states were registering record numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitals in many cities were struggling to cope.
DeVos called the guidelines "common sense" measures created to be helpful to schools as they consider how, not if, to reopen.
He criticized guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening schools as too costly and expensive.
"The president and his administration is messing with the health of our children", Pelosi said. "But they must go back safely".More news: Graham says he plans to call Mueller to testify before Senate panel
DeVos appeared on CNN Sunday morning and faced intense questions from Dana Bash regarding plans to reopen schools, especially in light of recommendations from the CDC that urged more caution.
"We know that children contract and have the virus at far lower incidence than any other part of the population", she said.
"The CDC guidelines are just that - meant to be flexible and meant to be applied as appropriate for the situation", she said.
"Kids need to be in school". They've been missing months of learning. That was evident in many ways throughout the interview, including when DeVos compared the United States reopening schools to countries that have actually gotten the pandemic under control in a way we emphatically have not.
"Where there are hot spots in the future, in the fall, of course that has to be dealt with differently", she said.
"Getting back to learning is really imperative", DeVos told the "Fox News Sunday" show.More news: CBSE Class-12 results: Bhubaneswar region records 91.46% result
Bash began the segment by highlighting the recent increase in positive coronavirus tests across the country and asked the secretary whether she could "assure students, teachers, parents, that they will not get coronavirus because they're going back to school" as the Trump administration pushes for their return.
Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately condemned DeVos's claims that colleges are risk-free as "appalling" and a "malfeasance and dereliction of duty".
The secretary said what full-time learning looks like this fall will look different dependent upon the district, but the bottom line is schools need to be open. The southeastern state reported 15,299 new cases in a single day, the highest one-day total of any state to date - and more than all the cases yet registered in South Korea. "COVID hits all of us, and the guidelines for six-feet social distancing simply mean that you can't put every kid back in a school with the existing square footage footprint. There is nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is unsafe to them", she told CNN.
"We're the size of five Pentagons".
A number of Republican governors have made clear they will go their own way on coronavirus measures, including whether to reopen schools.More news: Hundreds of rivers swell as China summer flood season revs up