TIMELINE: How APT Exposed the CDC’s Collusion with Teachers’ Unions That Kept Kids Out of School


  • 8th – Joe Biden pledges to reopen most schools during his first 100 days in office.
  • 20th – CDC panel votes to give frontline essential workers – including teachers – access to vaccines after healthcare workers.


  • 17th ­– Three days before being sworn in, Rochelle Walensky tells CBS that she and Joe Biden share the goal of ensuring K-8 schools reopen in the first 100 days.
    • WALENSKY: “You know, I think that this is a– and– a goal that the President-elect has. I share the goal. We are going to look carefully. One of the things we want to do is make sure that we can vaccinate our educate– our educators and people in our school systems. We certainly don’t want to open schools if they are not safe.”
  • 21st – Joe Biden releases national COVID-19 response strategy that includes strategy to prioritize reopening K-8 schools.
  • 26th – CDC researchers state there is “little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”
  • 30th – Four days after the CDC found schools were not meaningfully contributing to the spread of COVID, Walensky begins calls with teachers’ unions on the school reopening guidance.


  • 1st – A day after a call on school reopening guidance, AFT thanks CDC for “rich discussion” and for “openness” to suggestions from Randi Weingarten, including being “able to review a copy of the draft guidance document over the weekend” and were “able to provide some initial feedback” to “strengthen the document.”
  • 3rd – Walensky emails AFT and others to assure them that their suggestions were “being worked into (with just a few small tweaks) the school opening guidance,” thanking them for their “partnership.”
  • 3rd – AFT thanks Walensky for her team’s “responsiveness” and “commitment to partnership” with them.
  • 7th – Walensky and Randi Weingarten have a 15 minute call.
  • 7thAFT and NEA ask the White House and CDC for help shaping their press strategy ahead of school guidance release.
  • 8th – Emails show the Biden administration is considering “labor issues” and “teacher contract negotiations” as a part of their reopening guidance.
  • 11thAFT emails Rochelle Walensky suggesting new language for the CDC’s forthcoming guidance on reopening schools.
  • 11th CDC officials work to set up “technical discussion” with NEA/AFT to talk through “CDC operational strategy.”
  • 12th – Flurry of emails show CDC officials actively working to insert language, as requested.
  • 12th – CDC sends teachers’ unions an embargoed copy of the school reopening guidance prior to public release.
  • 12th – CDC unveils new guidance on reopening schools and Education Department releases volume 1 of guidance for in-person learning.
    • Walensky claims that the release is “free from political meddling”
  • 12th – AFT follows with a press release saying “CDC met fear of the pandemic with facts and evidence.”


  • Walensky blocks off time in her schedule to meet with AFT and NEA to further discuss school guidance.


  • 1st – New York Post reports on emails obtained by APT showing NEA/AFT meddling in crafting CDC school reopening guidance.
  • 13th – CDC announces fully vaccinated American could stop wearing masks indoors and outside.
  • 14th – NEA informs White House and CDC that their union plans to criticize the end of the mask mandate without direction for schools. Both components pledge to work with NEA.
  • 14th – Rochelle Walensky’s calendar shows meetings with national union bosses, including AFT’s Randi Weingarten, about the updated masking policy.
  • 14th – CDC tells White House that they had met with Randi Weingarten and Becky Pringle.
  • 15th – CDC tightens masking guidance, saying people should wear a mask at school regardless of vaccination status.