Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said school is “one of the safest places” children can be during the coronavirus pandemic, despite many school districts switching back to in-person learning amid a widespread uptick in infections.
During the coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Dr. Redfield urged local leaders to make “data-driven decisions” instead of emotional ones when it comes to shutting down schools.
“Today, there’s extensive data that we have gathered over the past few months to confirm that K-12 schools can operate with face-to-face learning, and they can do it safely and they can do it responsibly,” he said. “The infections that we’ve identified in schools when they’ve been evaluated were not acquired in schools. They were actually acquired in the community and in the household.
“The truth is, for kids K-12, one of the safest places they can be, from our perspective, is to remain in school,” he continued. “And it’s really important that following the data, making sure we don’t make emotional decisions about what to close and what not to close. And I’m here to say clearly the data strongly supports that K-12 schools — as well as institutes of higher learning — really are not where we’re having our challenges.
“And it would be counterproductive from my point of view, from a public health point of view, just in containing the epidemic, if there was an emotional response, to say, ‘Let’s close the schools,’” he added.
The comments came the same day New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shut down in-person learning until further notice without any clear plan for reopening after the city overall hit a 3% positive COVID-19 test rate, while the rate for schools was just 0.17%.
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