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U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy showered American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten with praise during an AFT virtual event on Tuesday.

During the livestream, the two appeared in a prerecorded conversation where Murthy gushed over Weingarten’s friendship and praised her “leadership” in education during the pandemic.

“I’m so glad we’re having this conversation together,” he said. “You’ve done so much for our country over the last couple of years, really, helping us understand how to take care of our kids during this difficult time.

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“And so I appreciate your leadership, your friendship and your partnership and for everything that you’re doing for our children.”

In the video, titled “Omicron, Boosters and Schools,” the pair were joined by Dr. Irwin Redlener, who is a co-founder of the Children’s Health Fund, and Dr. Vin Gupta from the Institute for Health Metrics.

Murthy went on to thank those watching at home for their part in moving forward despite the pandemic and helping to “protect our kids.”

“Whenever we are called, especially when it is scary or hard or unprecedented, we answer that call,” Murthy said. “And that’s exactly what you’ve done.”

“Everybody in the classroom, through your work with children, you’ve been extraordinary leaders and partners in ensuring that our children have a safe and supportive learning environment. You and your peers answered the call during this pandemic, there’s no doubt about that.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, along with members of Congress, parents and caregiving advocates, hold a press conference supporting Build Back Better investments in home care, child care, paid leave and expanded CTC payments in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Oct. 21, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, along with members of Congress, parents and caregiving advocates, hold a press conference supporting Build Back Better investments in home care, child care, paid leave and expanded CTC payments in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Oct. 21, 2021, in Washington, D.C. ( Paul Morigi/Getty Images for MomsRising Togethe)

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The American Federation of Teachers and other teachers unions have repeatedly faced criticism for their role in school closures during the pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Federation of Teachers came under fire in May after a report that the union influenced CDC guidelines on school reopenings.

Communications obtained by the New York Post through a Freedom of Information Act request by conservative group Americans for Public Trust showed numerous emails between top CDC officials and the union just days before the administration released school reopening guidelines in February. The lobbying efforts were a reported success, as the Post found at least two instances when “suggestions” were used nearly word-for-word within the CDC’s guidelines.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten speaks at a news conference to unveil congressional Democrats' "A Better Deal" economic agenda on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 1, 2017. (REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten speaks at a news conference to unveil congressional Democrats’ “A Better Deal” economic agenda on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 1, 2017. (REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

“Speaking as an attorney who went to federal court to open California’s schools last summer, you were the biggest single obstacle to educating America’s children in school — not Gavin Newsom, not [Dr. Anthony] Fauci — not even COVID,” Center for American Liberty founder Harmeet K. Dhillon wrote to Weingarten on Twitter.

Murthy issued a Surgeon General’s Advisory in December warning of a growing youth mental health crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While the crisis began escalating in the decade leading up to the pandemic, COVID-19 worsened conditions as it limited social interactions and access to necessary health and social services among young people, according to the surgeon general’s office.

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Early data show emergency room visits for suicide attempts among adolescent girls, in particular, rose by 51% during COVID-19 and emergency room visits among adolescent boys increased by 4% during the same time period.

 Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

“They missed first days of school, months or even years of in-person schooling, graduation ceremonies, sports competitions, playdates, and time with relatives,” the advisory states. “They and their family may have lost access to mental health care, social services, income, food or housing. They may have had COVID-19 themselves, suffered from long COVID symptoms, or lost a loved one to the disease – it’s estimated that as of June 2021, more than 140,000 children in the U.S. had lost a parent or grandparent caregiver to COVID-19.”

Weingarten has a long history of moving the goalpost throughout the pandemic regarding the reopening of schools. Emails showed AFT influencing CDC guidance days before the Biden administration released school reopening guidelines in February.

It wasn’t until recent months that her tone has shifted as COVID restrictions become increasingly unpopular with Americans.

Fox News’ Audrey Conklin and Evie Fordham contributed to this report.