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Dr. Fauci doesn’t think a second coronavirus wave will keep schools closed this fall

Published Jun 4th, 2020 1:46PM EDT
Coronavirus: Schools reopen
Image: Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci believes that schools will be able to reopen in the fall after the coronavirus outbreak forced them to close to keep children from spreading the virus, suggesting that he is hopeful a second wave won’t hit the United States.
  • Not every school will be the same, and some will need to “be creative” by creating alternating schedules for students and making sure that desks aren’t too close together.
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is currently conducting a study to learn more about how likely children are to catch the novel coronavirus.

Although every US state has begun the process of reopening after the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus, life won’t really go back to normal until the schools around this country open their doors again. Yes, summer break would have already started in many states, but without anywhere to send their kids, parents are going to struggle to go back to work this fall, providing a second wave doesn’t force us all back inside anyway. Thankfully, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been far more optimistic lately, and that optimism has even expanded to include schools.

“I hesitate to make any broad statements about whether it is or is not quote ‘safe’ for kids to come back to school,” Fauci told CNN on Wednesday when asked about schools potentially reopening in the fall.

“When you talk about children going back to school and their safety, it really depends on the level of viral activity, and the particular area that you’re talking about. What happens all too often, understandably, but sometimes misleadingly, is that we talk about the country as a whole in a unidimensional way.”

Grouping the schools of every state and every city into a single unit is not useful, as Dr. Fauci notes, but in general, he seems to believe that it won’t be necessary to keep schools closed in the fall. “Children can get infected, so, yes, so you’ve got to be careful,” said Fauci. “You got to be careful for them and you got to be careful that they may not spread it. Now, to make an extrapolation that you shouldn’t open schools, I think is a bit of a reach.”

The same confidence Fauci exudes here is mirrored in his recent assertion that we can avoid a second wave.

If nothing else, Fauci believes that it isn’t too early to begin discussing “the pros and the cons of bringing kids back to school in September.” After all, reopening the schools will need to take place on a case-by-case basis, so while some schools can reopen with virtually no restrictions, Fauci says that others might need modifications such as breaking up classes and staggering schedules so that classrooms aren’t crowded. He also wants schools to “be creative” when it comes to classroom layouts, spacing students out to account for social distancing.

Regardless of any measures the reopened schools put in place, there will undoubtedly be parents who are concerned for the safety of their children, especially in light of the inflammatory syndrome affecting younger people that appears to be linked to the coronavirus. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of which Fauci is the director, is currently conducting a study following 6,000 children and their families in 11 cities over the next 6 months to learn more about the risks the virus poses to children. This will be vital data in the fall.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.