President Biden said the country "must open" schools in the fall with proper safety measures and protocols, including masking indoors.
"I also want to speak to families with children in school. We can and we must open schools this fall, full-time. It's better for our children's mental and emotional well-being, and we can't afford another year out of the classroom. Every school should be open, and we're giving them the tools to be able to do so safely, even in those areas where... they have a higher rate of Covid. Through the American Rescue Plan we provided schools billions of dollars to implement safety measures, better ventilation, social distancing and other measures," the President said in remarks from the White House.
Biden noted that vaccination rates among teachers are high and promoted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mask guidelines for students.
"Almost 90% of educators and school staff are now vaccinated. Additionally, the CDC has provided clear guidance on how all schools can safely protect the kids and bring them back to the classroom. Every student wear a mask. It's that simple. So we funded safety measures at schools. We've vaccinated teachers and staff, and we can mask up our kids for further protection. Once again, there's one more thing we need to do. Get more adolescents, ages 12 and up, vaccinated now that they've been cleared," the President said.
Biden also said the government is prepared to provide vaccinations to children 12 and under once the vaccines are "deemed safe for them."
Some more background: The CDC recommended on Tuesday that localities encourage all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in schools to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Previously, the CDC updated its Covid-19 guidance for schools earlier this month, noting that fully vaccinated people did not have to wear masks, and then about a week later the American Academy of Pediatrics issued stricter guidance recommending that everyone older than 2 wear a mask in schools, regardless of their vaccination status.
CNN's Jacqueline Howard contributed reporting to this post.