Congressional subcommittee finds CDC let teachers unions re-write CDC school reopening plans

FILE - Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during an event on Dec. 8, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. ABC News is under fire for how it edited an interview that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky gave to "Good Morning America." Experts say ABC News has a responsibility to talk to viewers about what happened and why, particularly to prevent misinformation from spreading further. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

RALEIGH — Republicans on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released an interim report revealing the head of the Centers and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allowed the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to re-write key portions of school reopening guidance. 

The interim findings state CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky was personally managing the reopening guidance process, granted AFT unprecedented access to the plans and, in some cases, used the union’s edits “almost word for word.”  

According to the news release, “After reviewing the draft, AFT staff asked CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to install a “trigger” in the guidance that would cause schools to close automatically if COVID-19 positivity rates reached a certain threshold. The CDC obliged, and thousands of schools across the country remained closed throughout the 2020-2021 school year.”

“The facts are clear: Biden’s CDC overrode routine practice to allow a radical teachers union that donated millions of dollars to Democrat campaigns to bypass scientific norms and rewrite official agency guidance.,” subcommittee ranking member Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Committee on Oversight and Reform ranking member Rep. James Comer (R-KY) wrote in a joint statement. 

Scalise and Comer called out the damage done to children due to school closures at the behest of “union bosses.”  

School closures during the 2020-2021 school year have had devastating effects on K-12 students including alarming levels of learning loss and mental health issues as well as increased obesity per the CDC and violent behavior.

“The Biden Administration abandoned medical science and replaced it with political science to reward one of their largest donors, harming millions of children in the process,” the congressman said. “They bypassed the science to put union bosses ahead of children.” 

Walensky told the subcommittee in July of 2021 that the CDC’s consultation with AFT was routine and consistent with the agency’s customary process for issuing guidance, but this appears not to be the case according to testimony taken from long-time CDC scientist, Dr. Henry Walke. 

Walke told investigators working with an outside source in this manner was “uncommon” and that the CDC doesn’t usually share draft guidance outside the agency or federal entity. 

The report details that Biden administration lawyers blocked lawmakers from “obtaining testimony as to whether the CDC has incorporated language from outside stakeholders in other cases.” The report also says that Biden’s lawyers prevented Dr. Walke from answering questions that would have been helpful to their investigation.

About A.P. Dillon 660 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_