In order for schools to be reopened amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, many more resources are needed from the federal government, said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky on Sunday.
“I think we need a lot more resources in order to get the schools safe. One of the things that’s really been emphasized in the school reopening is how unsafe some of our school ventilation systems are,” Walensky told Fox News. “That’s a problem not just for SARS-CoV-2 but for other respiratory viruses, for children with asthma, for exposure to mold,” she said, referring to another name for the CCP virus, which causes COVID-19.
“So I think that there’s a lot of work that we need to do in order to get our schools a safer environment,” she said.
Other mitigation efforts include more space for children, fewer children in classrooms, more nurses and staff, and screening, said Walensky, responding to questions about funding to get schools reopened.
Her comments came after Biden administration officials said that schools will be considered “opened” as long as they teach in-person for at least one day per week.
“His goal that he set is to have the majority of schools—so, more than 50 percent—open by day 100 of his presidency,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week. “And that means some teaching in classrooms. So, at least one day a week. Hopefully, it’s more.”
Reopening efforts have faced roadblocks due in part to slow vaccine rollouts and standoffs with teachers unions. While schools in some areas are teaching in-person, many remain mostly or entirely online. In cities including Chicago and San Francisco, districts have faced resistance from teachers who refuse to return until certain demands, such as making vaccinating all teachers a priority, are met.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Biden’s school reopening goal “may not happen because there may be mitigating circumstances,” including new strains of the CCP virus.
On Feb. 12, the CDC stated that reopening schools as soon as possible is a priority.
“It is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open, to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services,” the CDC said in a statement. “To enable schools to open and remain open, it is important to adopt and consistently implement actions to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 both in schools and in the community. If community transmission is high, students and staff are more likely to come to school while infectious, and COVID-19 can spread more easily in schools.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.