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As many parents are struggling with the idea of sending their children back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House is formally declaring teachers essential workers as part of their efforts to encourage schools around the country to reopen for in-person learning.

CNN reports that Vice President Mike Pence announced the decision to governors on a call last week. Under Department of Homeland Security guidance issued this week, teachers are now considered “critical infrastructure workers” and are subject to the same kinds of advisories as other workers who have borne that label — such as doctors and law enforcement officers.

The guidance for essential workers states that they can continue to work even after exposure to a confirmed case of Covid-19, provided they remain asymptomatic.

As students return to US campuses, at least 15 states are reporting positive coronavirus cases at universities.