By now you’re familiar with President-elect Joe Biden’s tweet detailing the three promises he had for the first 100 days of his administration, and one of those was the promise to open most schools.

Asked by a reporter to define what Biden meant by “open,” a maskless yet refreshing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained that the goal was to have the majority of schools holding in-person learning at least one day a week by the end of April. Others must have heard the same thing we did because it came up at Biden’s CNN town hall, where he explained that the one-day-a-week goal was “a mistake in the communication.”

And speaking of setting the bar low; it shouldn’t be tough getting most schools back open when most schools are already open:

CNN has helpfully provided an analysis of the Biden administration’s goals and stated position to see what the holdup is:

So, Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson, why is opening schools so hard for the White House?

A month into the new administration, the White House still cannot provide the clarity much of America needs about when children can return to school, which kids can go back and when their teachers will be vaccinated. Biden declared Tuesday night at a CNN town hall that teachers should be prioritized for vaccinations. But decisions about teacher vaccinations and schools reopening are made at the local level — with school districts often having to abide by state guidelines that determine based on the level of transmission in a community.

This is a reflection of the enormous scientific, educational and political lift it will require to get millions of young Americans back into in-person learning. Given these complications, it’s perhaps not surprising White House officials have hedged on key details. But at times, their unspecific language and repetition of talking points apparently designed to navigate a tricky political position with few easy answers, has only added more opacity.

“Apparently designed to navigate a tricky political position” — they could have stopped there. It’s only in the last four paragraphs that CNN. even brings unions into the picture: “But as pressure mounts, the Los Angeles teachers’ union said the calls for reopening were ‘reckless.'”

It was brave of CNN to note the Biden administration’s “opacity” on the subject.

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