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Press Release Published: Mar 28, 2023

Wenstrup Calls on CDC, AFT, 14 Others to Explain Role in School Closure Policies

WASHINGTON — Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) is calling on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and 14 other non-governmental groups to provide documents and information related to their role in the CDC’s COVID-19 school reopening guidance. Chairman Wenstrup is also requesting transcribed interviews from AFT President Randi Weingarten and other top leaders to further investigate AFT’s potential role in keeping schools closed longer than necessary.

“The AFT is a political union, not a professional scientific or medical organization. Yet, CDC permitted the AFT to edit the Operational Strategy prior to its release. The resulting published guidance advised keeping schools closed—contrary to the prevailing science—in greater than 90 percent of U.S. counties. The Select Subcommittee’s previous investigation into this matter uncovered that CDC deviated from standard practice. You granted AFT ‘uncommon’ access to revise and edit an internal draft of the Operational Strategy at least two weeks prior to its release, even making line-by-line additions. The AFT’s input and access coincidentally shifted CDC’s guidance to align with AFT’s agenda—keeping schools closed,” wrote Chairman Wenstrup in his letter to the CDC.

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic is concerned that even as reliable health data became available, the Biden Administration prioritized the interests of its political allies over the health and education of America’s children. Prolonged lockdowns and school closures contributed to a mental health crisis, historic learning loss, and decreased pediatric physical health. By conducting oversight into school closure decisions and the negative effectives of these decisions, the Select Subcommittee seeks to deliver the truth about whether public health officials had the best interests of our nation’s children in mind.

“The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic is investigating political interference at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We are aware that the CDC sought input from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) regarding the CDC’s February 12, 2021, COVID-19 school reopening guidance titled, ‘Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention’ (Operational Strategy).  We are concerned about the potential for undue influence of non-governmental groups on CDC scientific guidance, and therefore, request documents and information on your organization’s knowledge of this matter,” wrote Chairman Wenstrup in his letter to AFT.

Read the letters to CDC, AFT, and other non-governmental organizations below: