The Facts on School Reopenings

Dr. Anthony Fauci attends the daily briefing of the Coronavirus Task Force at the White House on April 13, 2020. (Leah Millis / Reuters)

Kudos to the Governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, for announcing a normal summer school in the classroom starting June 1. North Dakota joins Idaho and Montana as the first back-to-school states – which is a huge relief to children and parents trying to get back to work.

In contrast to the distorted media coverage, Dr. Anthony Fauci yesterday told the Senate Health Committee that schools should not be reopened in the fall.

Senator Lamar Alexander asked Fauci about school starting in August and said, “Let’s start with treatments and vaccines first.”

Fauci replied by noting that “having treatments or a vaccine to facilitate the return of students in the fall period would be something a bit too much of a bridge”.

He continued, “What they really want is to know if they are safe. That is the question that must come up with what we discussed earlier about testing. “

A sense of security is important, and certainly the ability of point-of-care tests available to anyone concerned about an infection will help.

But since 20 million Americans attend colleges and 50 million attend K-12 public schools, we shouldn’t wait for all of them to be tested, as most are at exceptionally low risk themselves and pass the virus on to others.

Students in France, Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands are all back in class and will be joined by Germany and other countries later this month.

Denmark reopened schools a month ago and there are no indications of school outbreaks. Iceland, which has never closed its schools, is at the top of the list of tests for the virus per capita.

Kai Stefansson, an adviser to the Icelandic Ministry of Health, reports that tests show that it is highly unlikely that children will be infected or transmit the virus to others. ‘We have not found a single case where a child infects parents,” he said.