"We should try, as the default, to get the kids to stay in school," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at an event hosted by Georgetown University.
"If you're in the part of a country where the dynamics of the outbreak are really minimal, if at all, then there's no problem at all in getting back. If you're in a situation where you're in outbreak mode, then you leave it up to the local individuals," he said.
Facing a battered economy as he seeks re-election in November, President Donald Trump has pressured states to reopen shuttered businesses and schools. Last week, he said the Treasury Department would re-examine schools’ tax-exempt status and their federal funding if they did not resume in-person classes.
It is not clear how Treasury could restrict funds. Most primary and secondary school funding is local.
ANTHONY FAUCI: As a general principle, we should try as best as possible to keep the children in school for the reasons that the unintended downstream ripple effect consequences of keeping the kids out of school and the impact on working families and on other aspects of society can be profound, not to mention the negative effect on the children.
So as a principle, we should try as the default to get the kids to stay in school. However, that's going to vary from where you are in the country and what the dynamics of the outbreak are in your particular region.
So that's the reason why although the fundamental principle is there, the one other guiding principle that is overriding is the safety and the welfare of the children and the safety and the welfare of the teachers.
So you've got to take that into consideration. So if you're in the part of the country where the dynamics of the outbreak are really minimal, if at all, then there's no problem at all in getting back.
If you're in a situation where you're in outbreak mode, then you leave it up to the local individuals, as you've said in certain California schools, certain Florida schools, of making a decision based on the judgment of making sure that safety of the children and safety of the teachers are paramount.
So you guide the principle. Let's try and get him open to the extent that we can. But let's take a look at the dynamics of the infection in the area that you're in.