During a coronavirus task force briefing held at the White House on Thursday (November 19), CDC Director Robert Redfield urged public officials to keep schools open, even as the number of new coronavirus cases continues to rise across the nation.
"It would be counterproductive from my point of view, from a public health point of view, just in containing the epidemic, if there was an emotional response, to say, 'Let's close the schools,'" he said.
Redfield explained that there are very few cases of COVID-19 that have been traced back to schools.
"Today, there is extensive data that we have gathered over the last two to three months to confirm that k-12 schools can operate with face-to-face learning, and they can do it safely, and they can do it responsibly," Redfield said. "The infections we have identified in the schools when they have been evaluating were not acquired in schools. They were acquired in the community and the household."
Redfield claimed that schools are one of the safest places for kids during the pandemic.
"The truth is, for kids K-12, one of the safest places they can be, from our perspective, is to remain in school, and it's really important that following the data, making sure we don't make emotional decisions about what to close and what not to close," Redfield continued. "I'm here to say clearly the data strongly supports that K-12 schools — as well as institutes of higher learning — really are not where we're having our challenges."
Redfield's call to keep schools open came on the same day that New York City, which is the largest school district in the country, closed down all public schools and ordered them to switch to remote learning. Authorities did not say when the schools will return to in-person learning.
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