Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 31, 2020.
The top infectious disease expert in the United States says school districts should find ways to offer as many outdoor activities as possible, from classes to lunchtime, as they develop their plans for reopening for the new semester.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested in his Facebook Live chat with Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday that school bus windows should also remain open and students wear their masks as much as possible.
He said, "If you look at the superspreader events that have occurred, they're almost always inside," citing major outbreaks at nursing homes, meatpacking warehouses, prisons, weddings and other social events.
When asked what his recommendation would be for reopening schools, Fauci said states should not take an all-or-nothing approach.
"If you want to open schools, do what you need to do," Fauci said, adding that actions such as closing bars and wearing masks will bring infections down.
He added that communities with low virus levels should be allowed to open for in-person classes, while those with higher counts hould focus on remote learning until the rate declines.
Fauci's latest remarks come amid mounting public concern from teachers and administrators that it's too soon to ensure the safe return of students across the nation.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump repeated his call for schools to reopen as the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. surpassed 165,000 mark and threatened to divert federal funding away from schools that did not reopen this fall.
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