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With only weeks before schools reopen in much of the country, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said Thursday at the White House that while the Delta variant of the coronavirus is “providing new challenges,” he still anticipates a return to in-class instruction.

“We expect our students to be in the classroom every day,” Cardona said from the White House Briefing Room, as he and other administration officials embark on a campaign to convince the American public that schools are safe. To do that, he will have to keep powerful teachers’ unions in line while persuading Republican governors like Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas to allow school districts to impose mask mandates. Both governors have strenuously resisted such measures, even as their states are pummeled by the Delta variant.

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