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WATCH: Pence, White House Task Force focuses on school reopening guidelines amid virus surge 

Vice President Mike Pence says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be issuing new guidance for the reopening of schools in the fall.

Watch the briefing in the video player above.

School districts across the country are struggling with how to safely reopen as the coronavirus continues to surge in some states. The vice president, speaking after a meeting Wednesday of the White House coronavirus task force at the Education Department, called it essential for students to return to the classroom for in-person learning.

“Part of our ongoing effort to focus on a mission to save lives, meet the needs of our states, our health care workers, to protect the vulnerable and to safely re-open America and reopen America’s schools,” Pence said.

He announced plans for new CDC guidelines shortly after President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize the public health agency for asking schools “to do very impractical things.”

Pence pointed to a slowing coronavirus death rate nationally and early indications of positive tests flattening in Arizona, Florida and Texas. Those three states in recent weeks have seen some of the biggest spikes in coronavirus infections.

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Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the Trump administration’s White House task force on COVID-19, is urging residents in the southern United States who are in the midst of a surge to fall back to Phase One protocols.

“The American people in those counties and in those states to not only use the face coverings, not going to bars, not going to indoor dining, but really not gathering in homes either and decreasing those gatherings back down to our Phase One recommendation, which was 10 or less,” she said.

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