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New Emails Show CDC Was Corrupted by Political Coordination with Activists and Teacher’s Unions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ignored the science that showed children are at statistically insignificant risk from Covid and issued policies based on close consultation with political activists in teacher’s unions, Republican lawmakers assert in a revealing new report.

The CDC’s guidance was used as the basis for closing schools and forcing children to wear masks throughout the Covid pandemic. An exclusive Fox News report on Wednesday provides yet another glimpse of the CDC’s politically motivated coordination with teacher’s unions.

“Republican lawmakers who sit on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis are releasing a report Wednesday revealing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official’s testimony claiming that the agency coordinated with teachers’ unions at an extraordinary level in crafting its school reopening guidance, despite the agency’s earlier claims that such coordination was routine and nonpolitical,” Fox News reported in its exclusive.

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“In the interim report, exclusively reviewed by Fox News Digital, Republicans wrote that emails between the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the White House, and the CDC showed that the AFT’s ‘cozy relationship with the Biden administration’s political leadership at the CDC positioned the union to impose line-by-line edits’ to the reopening guidance, despite the CDC’s ‘past practice to keep draft guidance confidential’.”

Thus, far from the CDC’s guidance being issued solely on the basis of ‘gold standard’ medical science, it was crafted by teachers with no qualified background in medicine or health policy.

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“On Feb. 11, 2021 one day before the CDC publicly posted the guidance, AFT’s senior director of health issues, Kelly Trautner, emailed CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky asking her to insert the line: ‘In the event high-community transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary’.”

Fox News reports that the emails revealed that “Walensky forwarded the email to Dr. Henry Walke, director of the CDC’s Center for Preparedness and Response, who then revised the guidance in accordance with AFT’s request,” adding that the emails also revealed that “CDC officials coordinated an early release of the final guidance to the AFT before releasing it to the public.”

“Documents and testimony show, however, that Director Walensky downplayed the degree to which CDC departed from past practice to allow AFT to affect the policymaking process. In fact, CDC allowed AFT to insert language into the Operational Guidance that made it more likely schools across the country would remain closed after February 2021,” says the report.

The report highlights new testimony from Walke in a Feb. 18, 2022 interview, saying the CDC’s coordination with teachers unions was “uncommon,” and noting the CDC “does not typically share draft guidance outside the agency.”

“When Republican staff asked Dr. Walke questions to that effect, a Biden Administration lawyer instructed him not to answer,” the report says. “Because lawyers for the Biden Administration prevented a key witness from explaining why the CDC allowed AFT to write key portions of its guidance for re-opening schools, there are still several unanswered questions. This matter should be investigated further.”

“The AFT’s edits were intended to make it more likely that schools would close to in-person learning, according to the Republicans’ findings,” Fox News reports.


As reported in September, the CDC also reversed the relaxation of school masking based on outraged feedback from teacher’s unions.

The CDC in May had issued guidance that it was unnecessary for vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors and outside. But a subsequent flurry of emails show that displeased teacher’s unions — not the “science”  — caused the CDC to back out on its guidance. It would subsequently issue stricter school guidelines that contradicted its previous May 13 guidance.

One day after the CDC’s May guidance, the White House director of labor engagement, Erika Dinkel-Smith, said she stopped the National Education Association (NEA) from releasing a critical statement.

“Would you know when Dr. Wolensky would be able to call NEA-Pres. Becky Pringle?” Dinkel-Smith wrote in the email. “They’ve gotten significant incoming and are getting targeted for a response from the media. I’ve gotten them to hold on their statement calling for clarification.”

That put into motion coordination between the NEA and White House on the mask guidance. The White House director of labor engagement and the CDC were forwarded copies of the NEA’s draft statement.

“We appreciate the developing nature of the science and its implications for guidance, but releasing the guidance without accompanying school-related updates creates confusion and fuels the internal politicization of this basic health and safety issue,” the draft statement read. “CDC has consistently said, and studies support, that mitigation measures, including to protect the most vulnerable, remain necessary in schools and institutions of higher education – particularly because no elementary or middle school students, and few high school students, have been vaccinated.”

“This will also make it hard for school boards and leaders of institutions of higher education to do the right thing by maintaining mitigation measures,” it continued. “We need CDC clarification right away.”

Later that day, Dinkel-Smith asked CDC chief of staff Sherri Berger to put NEA President Becky Pringle in touch with the CDC director. Berger wrote “will do” and added that the CDC director was “connecting w/ Becky now.”

Then CDC chief of staff Sherri Berger said that she had reached out to both Becky Pringle at the NEA and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The CDC’s stringent and unnecessary mask guidance for schoolchildren and vaccinated adults flaunts international norms and the agency’s own scientific studies. In late August, the Foundation for Economic Education highlighted the CDC burying its own study showing that masking in schools made no statistically significant difference.

“A recent New York magazine article states that the science on masks ‘remains uncertain,’ but noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in May published a large-scale study of COVID transmission in US schools,” FEE noted.

“The study, which analyzed some 90,000 elementary students in 169 Georgia schools from November 16 to December 11, found that there was no statistically significant difference in schools that required students to wear masks compared to schools where masks were optional.”

The CDC’s findings “cast doubt on the impact of many of the most common mitigation measures in American schools,” New York Magazine’s David Zweiger remarked.

This is a far cry from the teacher’s unions, and subsequently, the CDC’s approach. The City Journal underscored international research on mask-wearing in schools to demonstrate, once again, that they don’t make any statistically significant difference in regards to stopping Covid.

“Schools have canceled many sports and other extracurricular activities, isolated students in Plexiglas cells, and forced them to wear masks in classrooms and on playgrounds,” he writes. “Social distancing and masks hinder learning while harming children emotionally, socially, and physically, all for no purpose other than providing false comfort to adults who ought to know better.”

“Schools have canceled many sports and other extracurricular activities, isolated students in Plexiglas cells, and forced them to wear masks in classrooms and on playgrounds,” he writes. “Social distancing and masks hinder learning while harming children emotionally, socially, and physically, all for no purpose other than providing false comfort to adults who ought to know better.”

The CDC apparently did ‘know better.’ But due to pressure from Democrat allies like teacher’s unions, the agency issued Covid guidance that did not reflect health science so much as political science.

NOW READ:

CDC Reversed Its Guidance & Forced Children to Wear Masks Because of Collusion with Teacher’s Unions


OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.