Students Could Return to California Campuses by Fall, Says Fauci

Students Could Return to California Campuses by Fall, Says Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, prepares to receive his first dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., on Dec. 22, 2020. (Patrick Semansky/Getty Images)
Jack Bradley

The country’s top infectious disease specialist says he’s hopeful California campuses will reopen for in-person instruction by next fall.

“It’s extremely important to get children back into school and kept in school,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Dec. 18 during a live video conference to California State University leaders.

“I will push and I believe it will go that way of making a high priority, making sure we get our schools open and safe.”

His remarks came as the state struggles with surge in COVID-19 cases. Health leaders are hoping vaccines, which began making their rounds in Orange County Dec. 16, will ultimately help end the pandemic.

“If we get 70 to 85 percent of the population vaccinated, we will create an umbrella or blanket, as it were, of herd immunity over the population to the point that the virus is not going to have any place to go,” Fauci said.

The vaccine has a 94 percent efficacy, meaning it performs well in a clinical trial.

But Fauci said that fear of the vaccine could hinder its success.

“[If] we only vaccinate 40 to 50 percent of the people, that is not an effective vaccine program,” Fauci said.

California State University Chancellor Tim White said his institution is on board with the program.

“You can count on the Cal State Universitythe 23 campuseson campus and in our communities to be a very strong voice for everyone to be vaccinated as we work through the next five, six, seven months,” White told Fauci during the conference.