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COVID-19 may force schools to go remote again this year

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA chief, could see schools going remote again

A student waits in the cafeteria the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Florida.
A student waits in the cafeteria after eating breakfast, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, during the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press

It’s possible that the novel coronavirus will continue to spread so much this fall that schools will need to go remote again, Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently told CNBC, because mitigation isn’t happening.

  • “We can’t expect to have less measures implemented, in terms of trying to control the infection in schools, and expect the same result, in terms of keeping the infection at bay.”

Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said the delta variant of the novel coronavirus is much different than the alpha variant we saw during the school year in 2020. We’re unsure how it will spread among children.

  • “This is a much more contagious variant, it might be much more difficult to control this in the school, so the goal should be to keep schools open, and try to keep these measures in place until we see how it goes,” said Gottlieb.

Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said earlier this week that he expects most U.S. schools to face immense challenges as the delta variant spreads, according to

  • “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.

However, some places have begun to implement some measures to fight off COVID-19 in schools. For example, Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, said she will issue an order for Salt Lake County children under the age of 12 to wear masks at school, according to Deseret News.

  • “I’m focused on those who are ineligible for vaccination and have no other way to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19,” Dunn said.