Bill Gates: Benefits almost always outweigh the costs for younger students to return to schools

Bill Gates argued for the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, telling CNBC on Tuesday that the "benefits outweigh the costs for younger students to return for in-person learning."

“I’m a big believer that for young children, the benefits in almost every location — particularly if you can protect the teachers well — the benefits outweigh the costs,” Gates said on “Squawk Box.”

Gates also said the dynamics begin to change when talking about relatively older students.


“As you get up to age, like, 13 and higher, then you’ll have to look at your locale to decide what you’ll do with high schools,” he said. “And if they’re not in, then you have to put massive effort into trying to get there to be continued learning online.”

The perspective from the billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder comes as school districts across the country continue to grapple with how to reopen classes safety in the late summer and fall as coronavirus cases jump in many states and fears of a second wave later in the year escalate.

President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE has strongly advocated reopening schools, while prominent Democrats have strongly disagreed.

“The president and his administration are messing with the health of our children,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Memo: Trump leaves changed nation in his wake New York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration GOP Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene referred to Parkland school shooting as 'false flag' event on Facebook MORE (D-Calif.) told CNN on July 12. “We all want our children to go back to school, parents do and children do. But they must go back safely.”

Since the pandemic hit the U.S. earlier this year, The Gates Foundation has contributed millions to research around a coronavirus vaccine.

“Our foundation has revamped our education work to really jump in and help get those online capabilities up,” Gates said Tuesday. “Make sure that minority students and low-income students aren’t suffering the most throughout all of this.”

Gates currently lives in California, where the two largest school systems, in Los Angeles and San Diego, recently announced plans to begin fall classes completely online.