Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said "a majority of counties in this country" are in a place where they can reopen their schools.
“I think there’s actually a majority of counties in this country that are in a position to reopen their schools based on the data we have now, case counts, the percent positive, the availability of testing and the resilience of the health system they have,” Redfield said today at a webinar with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.
He added that he thinks a majority of counties would meet the criteria to reopen, as long as teachers, administrators and parents had the confidence to do so.
“It has to be done safely. It has to be done with the confidences of the teachers. It has to be done with the confidence of the parents,” Redfield said.
One of the things the CDC has tried to do, he said, is “allow people how to understand how to do their own risk assessment” – something that is very important as local school districts are going to have to make their own decisions. Remember: The CDC has released guidelines for schools as they reopen.
While Redfield said he didn’t want people to overestimate the risk of serious illness for children, he did point out there needs to be ample considerations to vulnerable individuals – for example, teachers or students who have existing co-morbidities.
“I’m of the point of view, and I weigh that equation as an individual who has 11 grandchildren, that the greater risk is actually for the nation to keep these schools closed,” Redfield said, highlighting that many children get mental health and nutritional services along with the teaching method and social aspect.