Hot on the heels of a congressional subcommittee hearing in which American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten was grilled over whether her union was allowed to rewrite key elements of the federal Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines for reopening K-12 schools during the COVID pandemic, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has submitted her resignation.
A coincidence? Please.
The announcement took many health experts by surprise, with the director expressing “mixed feelings” about the decision. Although Walensky has yet to explain her actions, the action comes the week after Weingarten’s much-scrutinized testimony.
A March 2022 report from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis revealed that Walensky bypassed the CDC’s customary scientific protocols to allow the AFT to rewrite key portions of the Biden Administration’s school reopening guidance.
Internal emails from the CDC revealed the agency then modified its draft, incorporating AFT suggestions.
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) focused her inquiry on Weingarten’s relationship with Walensky. Rep. Lesko had to repeatedly ask the union boss whether or not she had Walensky’s direct phone number.
Lesko stated, “I’m a member of Congress that sits on two committees that deal with the CDC, I don’t have a direct number to Director Walensky, do you?”
Weingarten tried to deflect the question by stammering, “I do not … talk to representatives of the government,” before finally admitting, “Yes, I have Director Walensky’s direct number.”
According to records obtained by the conservative watchdog group Americans for Public Trust, Weingarten spoke with Walensky by phone on Feb. 7 and Feb. 11, 2021, leading up to the Feb. 12 CDC announcement halting full re-opening of in-person classes.
As more and more new studies emerge chronicling the devastating learning loss students suffered from school shutdowns, Walensky appears to be getting out while the getting’s good.