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Expert: Delta variant will make the fall ‘really challenging for schools’

Experts suggest schools may struggle this fall to contain COVID-19

SHARE Expert: Delta variant will make the fall ‘really challenging for schools’
Torah Neil, 10, holds a sign in support of school mask mandates in Salt Lake City.

Torah Neil, 10, holds a sign in support of school mask mandates outside of the Utah State Board of Education office in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. The reopening of schools across the country has drawn fears from experts that the delta variant of COVID-19 will spread quickly, leading to a new surge of cases.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Schools are opening up across the country. But the reopening of schools has drawn fears from experts that the delta variant of COVID-19 will spread quickly, leading to a new surge of cases.

Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggested there may need to be mask mandates for children as the school year ramps up again.

Will COVID-19 spread in schools this fall?

Besser said he thinks COVID-19 will continue to spread rapidly in the fall, especially as schools open again.

  • “I think this fall is going to be really challenging for schools,” Besser said.
  • “I expect that (COVID-19) is going to jump around different classrooms, and schools will be forced to shut down more than they did in fact last year,” he said. “The more we can do to reduce the number of times that happens, the better. And wearing masks for everyone will help to accomplish that.”

Where will COVID-19 hit next?

Over the weekend, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said he expects to see an influx of COVID-19 cases in the northern United States as schools reopen, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “The epidemic is clearly slowing in states like Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri. But at the same time, we now see the virus spreading to northern states,” Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation” over the weekend.

Should schools have mask mandates?

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, told  NBC’s “Meet the Press” that children should return to schools with mask mandates in place.

  • “For the kids who can’t get vaccinated, that’s the reason why we’re having a strong recommendation that, in the schools, everybody should wear a mask, whether or not you’re vaccinated.”
  • “We’ve got to protect the children,” he said.