Eileen Sullivan and Erica L. Green of the New York Times managed to get a copy of an internal (secret) report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that warned of the dangers of opening schools without adequate protection of students and staff.

WASHINGTON — Federal materials for reopening schools, shared the week President Trump demanded weaker guidelines to do so, said fully reopening schools and universities remained the “highest risk” for the spread of the coronavirus.

The 69-page document, obtained by The New York Times and marked “For Internal Use Only,” was intended for federal public health response teams to have as they are deployed to hot spots around the country. But it appears to have circulated the same week that Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would release new guidelines, saying that the administration did not want them to be “too tough.” It is unclear whether Mr. Trump saw the document, nor is it clear how much of it will survive once new guidance is completed.

(The cover page of the document is dated July 8, 2019, an obvious typographical error since the novel coronavirus did not exist then.)

What is clear is that federal health experts are using a road map that is vastly different from what Mr. Trump wanted.

While it is mostly a compilation of C.D.C. documents already posted online, it includes reopening plans drafted by states, districts and individual schools and universities. And the package, from the Community Interventions and Critical Populations Task Force, is pointed.

In a “talking points” section, the material is critical of “noticeable gaps” in all of the K-12 reopening plans it reviewed, though it identified Florida, Oregon, Oklahoma and Minnesota as having the most detailed.

“While many jurisdictions and districts mention symptom screening, very few include information as to the response or course of action they would take if student/faculty/staff are found to have symptoms, nor have they clearly identified which symptoms they will include in their screening,” the talking points say. “In addition, few plans include information regarding school closure in the event of positive tests in the school community.”

And its suggestions for mitigating the risk of school reopenings would be expensive and difficult for many districts, like broad testing of students and faculty and contact tracing to find people exposed to an infected student or teacher.

The debate about school reopenings comes as the virus is spreading at its fastest pace yet across the country, a trend some attribute to states reopening prematurely this spring on a timeline encouraged by Mr. Trump. Now some states are pausing their reopening plans and in some cases reimposing restrictions to contain the spread. Schools in California have had to cancel their plans for in-person classes as the virus surges..

And as Mr. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos were trying to pressure local schools to comply with their reopening vision, the document was expressly saying the federal government should not override local judgment.

“These C.D.C. considerations are meant to supplement — not replace — any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations” with which schools must comply, the packet states in bold lettering. “Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, and acceptable and be tailored to the needs of each community…”

“This is the document we needed six weeks ago,” said Daniel A. Domenech, the executive director of the AASA, the School Superintendents Association, calling it “concise, accessible and actionable.”

“While it is a great resource for superintendents as they navigate the myriad issues they need to address as they work to reopen schools,” he said, “it is also a great communication tool, a resource that can be shared with the community to help account for decisions being made and to share reliable, science-based information.”

Since May, the C.D.C. website has cautioned that full reopening would be “highest risk,” and that in both K-12 and higher education settings, the more people interact, “and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of Covid-19 spread.” The “lowest risk,” the guidelines say, would be for students and teachers to attend virtual-only classes — an option the administration this week began a full-court press against.

All week, the Trump administration has been raising the pressure on schools and universities to reopen with in-person education. On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that international students whose colleges went fully online would have to transfer to a school offering in-person classes or leave the country.

By Wednesday, Ms. DeVos had publicly chastised a public school district in Fairfax County, Va., for offering parents a choice of in-person classes two days a week or fully online instruction. The department and the president said they were exploring options for using federal funding as leverage to force full reopening.

That Wednesday, Mr. Trump rejected the C.D.C. guidelines, calling them “very tough & expensive” on Twitter. Then Mr. Pence announced that the C.D.C. would issue new recommendations next week. “We just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” he said.

On Friday, after repeating threats of cutting off federal funding from schools that do not fully reopen — which he does not have the authority to do — Mr. Trump lashed out again.

“Now that we have witnessed it on a large scale basis, and firsthand, virtual learning has proven to be TERRIBLE compared to In School, or On Campus, Learning,” he wrote on Twitter. “Not even close! Schools must be open in the Fall.”.

You may recall that when Betsy DeVos was interviewed by the Senate when she was confirmed, she sang the praises of virtual schools, despite the copious research that shows the deficiencies of online charter schools. Now she and Trump are insistent that schools must reopen fully for in-person instruction, five days a week, without the money to provide the safety protocols that the CDC recommends. In effect, they are urging the highest possible risk for students in K-12 and in colleges and universities.

What becomes clear is that they want students in schools so their parents can go back to work and jumpstart the economy. They don’t care about the risks to lives. For them, reopening the schools is a political necessity. Neither of them recommend appropriating the funds to make students and staff safe. If schools don’t reopen, or reopen only partially, they can conveniently blame the “greedy,” “selfish” teachers unions for keeping schools closed. They accept no responsibility to comply with the CDC guidelines.

Betsy DeVos said on CNN that schools need not follow the CDC guidelines.

The CDC guidelines for schools to reopen contain steps to keep children safe, including keeping desks placed six feet apart and for children to use cloth face coverings. The CDC suggests the closing of communal areas like dining rooms and playgrounds and the installation of physical barriers like sneeze guards where necessary.

“There is nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them,” DeVos said, when asked by Bash if she can assure parents and students that schools will be safe and pressed on health guidance that says children are at highest risk when meeting in full-sized, in-person classes — doubling down on a similar comment she made last week.

Trump and Pence has admitted that they pressured the CDC to water down the guidelines to make it easier for schools to reopen. So far, the CDC has not done so.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Bash later in the program that CDC guidelines should be a requirement and called DeVos’ comments on schools being safe for students a “malfeasance and dereliction of duty.”

“This is appalling,” said Pelosi, a California Democrat. “The President and his administration are messing with the health of our children. We all want our children to go back to school. Teachers do, parents do and children do. But they must go back safely.”

Just today, the nation’s leading education groups–the National Education, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Association of School Superintendents, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, called for schools to reopen safely, safely, safely, and calls on the Administration and Congress to provide the necessary resources for reopening safely to be possible.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a few days ago that his father wants “open schools and closed borders,” while his opponent Joe Biden wants “closed schools and open borders.” Opening the schools without the funding to make them safe is a demagogic and dangerous tactic in the midst of a pandemic that still is out of control in many states.

If Trump and DeVos want schools to reopen for full in-person instruction, Trump should tell Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back into session to pass the HEROES Act and demand all the funding necessary to make schools and colleges safe.

The American people need to know that Trump and DeVos want the schools to open fully with no safeguards in place for students or staff.

That’s wrong. It should not happen.