Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Fauci says one-size-fits-all school reopening plan ‘won’t work.’ Here’s what he proposes instead.

coronavirus COVID-19 community spread schools reopening kids transmitting virus teachers parents anthony fauci unilaternal one size fits all transmission rate positivity 10 percent
Dr. Anthony Fauci Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • Anthony Fauci weighed in on the national debate to reopen schools, saying a unilateral approach will not work.
  • He suggests that areas with an infection positivity rate above 10 percent use virtual classrooms.

Remote learning and virtual classrooms are a better solution for some parts of the country experiencing high rates of transmission, Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday. 

He specifically noted that areas with an infection positivity rate over 10 percent should opt for virtual classrooms, Reuters reports.

Fauci says that while reopening in-person classrooms should be the default goal given the psychological benefits for children, a one-size-fits-all approach to reopen all schools is not the solution.

“To make a statement on one side vs the other and take the country as a whole won’t work — we’re so heterogeneous with the infections,” Fauci said in a virtual interview with the health care website Healthline.


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His comments come as the U.S. experiments with reopening educational institutions, from elementary schools to universities. So far, several schools across multiple states have closed within weeks or even days of reopening due to outbreaks among students and faculty.

Most recently, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shuttered in-person classes just one week after reopening following more than 100 students testing positive for COVID-19.

Nationwide, states’ decisions on how to reopen schools vary. Some have relegated it to the county level, where public health officials can gauge levels of transmission and the risks that come with returning for live classes. Other states, like Florida, are pressuring districts to open for in-person classes, whereas New Jersey announced it would allow and support the option to conduct remote learning. 

While children have largely been spared severe coronavirus infections, older adults with preexisting health conditions are much more vulnerable. This has prompted teachers and educator unions to strike in protest of policies that force them to return to live classrooms without proper safety measures, which could endanger their health. 


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