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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has changed his position on school re-openings.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci recently stated: “The default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to get them back to school. … If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected. So let’s try to get the kids back, but let’s try to mitigate the things that maintain and just push the kind of community spread that we’re trying to avoid.”
But Dr. Fauci hasn’t always sided with the data or supported proponents of re-opening.
Investigative reporter Jordan Schachtel produced a detailed timeline on all of the positions Dr. Fauci has taken on schools, noting that Fauci’s latest remarks have finally “caught up with the overwhelming data supporting open schools.”
April 13, 2020: Fauci slams Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who announced at the time that he wanted to get schools open as soon as possible. Fauci claimed that opening the schools will get children infected with the coronavirus. “If you have a situation where you don’t have a real good control over an outbreak and you allow children together, they will likely get infected,” Fauci proclaimed.
May 12, 2020: Without evidence, Fauci claims COVID-19 is dangerous to children, citing “Kawasaki syndrome” as a potential outcome in schoolchildren.
June 30, 2020: Testifying on Capitol Hill, Fauci says school reopenings depend on the “dynamics of the outbreak.”
July 15, 2020: The NIAID chief supports looking at schools on a case by case basis.
July 24, 2020: Fauci continues to advance his vague ideas about school reopenings, but again makes clear that he opposes having schools open in areas where the coronavirus is spreading.
August 4, 2020: Dr. Fauci calls for the continuing closure of schools in areas with high transmission, and a hybrid learning system in areas with moderate transmission, in elaborating on a scaled approach that allows for schools to remain open based on unspecified area transmission numbers.
August 4, 2020: ABC reports that Fauci is still concerned that schools could be vectors for transmission of COVID-19.
August 13, 2020: Fauci agrees that the future entails “many months” of virtual learning, in supporting keeping schools physically closed.
September 3, 2020: Schools can only open back up once the virus is “under control,” Fauci tells CNN.
September 20, 2020: Fauci declares that “some” schools may be able to open safely, but that places with high COVID-19 transmission levels “may want to pause before they start sending the kids back to school for a variety of reasons.”
November 29, 2020: Fauci discovers the almost year-old data showing that schools are not vectors for COVID-19 transmission. He says in an ABC interview, “But as I said in the past … the default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to get them back to school.”
I have shared much research and data from experts over the past several months on best practices to re-open schools in ways that minimize health and safety risks, that schools aren’t super-spreaders, and that there is very little evidence that school closures have any measurable public health benefit against the spread of COVID. We can get our students safely back into the classroom.
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