White House pushes schools to reopen
Speaking to reporters at the US Department of Education on Wednesday, Mr Pence defended the Trump
administration's response to the pandemic.
"While we express grief, with those who grieve, because of what the American citizens have done, and because of the exceptional work of our healthcare employees around the nation, we are heartened that the average mortality rate continues to be low and steady
He added that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would issue new guidelines on reopening schools after Mr Trump criticized a plan put forward by an expert body as "very tough and expensive" and threatened to cut off funding to schools that did not open in the autumn
"The president said, "today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough," Mr Pence said. "That's the explanation why, next week, CDC is going to be distributing a new set of kits, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward."
Schools in the US typically begin for the year in either August or early September.
The CDC's guidelines suggest pupils and staff all wear face coverings and stay at home if necessary. They also suggest schools should implement staggered timetables and socially distanced seating arrangements, and close communal spaces.