White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said he believes schools in the U.S. should be open “full blast,” five days a week by the fall. “We really have to do that by the time we get to the fall,” Fauci stated. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky and Randi Weingarten, the American Federation for Teachers president, both made the same recommendation recently.
Currently, around half of all U.S. public schools aren’t yet open for in-person learning five days a week. When asked if vaccinated children could forego masks in the classroom, Fauci said he would defer to the CDC on recommendations for students, “but I would think that would certainly be an option if the children are vaccinated, not to have a mask.”
Fauci added that parents should still make sure children wear masks until they’re vaccinated but noted that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for 12 to 15-year-olds. He said vaccine studies are being done for children younger than 12, “so we’ll be able, hopefully, by the end of the year to be able to vaccinate children of any age.”
Weingarten, who leads the second-largest teacher’s union in the country, said in a Thursday press conference, “There is no doubt: Schools must be open. In-person. Five days a week.” She noted returning wouldn’t be “risk-free” but said simple measures like mask-wearing, hand washing, and smaller class sizes would mitigate the dangers.
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