Tags: Coronavirus | gottlieb | schools | cdc | covid

Ex-FDA Head Gottlieb: COVID Spread Makes it "Very Hard' to Open Schools

school busses are parked at and in the garage
Lakeland School District school buses are stored at a garage on Route 247 in Jermyn, Pa. on Sunday, May 3, 2020. All Pennsylvania schools are closed for the remainder of the school year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP)

By    |   Sunday, 26 July 2020 02:41 PM

Uncontrolled spread of coronavirus in the nation's communities will make it "very hard' for schools to open this fall, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday. 

"I think you need to look at the density of students in the schools," Gottlieb said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "You'll see some districts, for example, opening the elementary schools to five days a week in class learning because they can de-densify those schools," but high schools may go to a more hybrid model, as it would be harder to create distance in those schools. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week issued guidelines for opening schools, including following social distancing, students and staff wearing face coverings, and keeping students in groups that will allow reduced contact.

But Gottlieb said it's "unfortunate" that the CDC has not offered a benchmark to determine when schools should be closed. 

"In the setting of uncertainty and the lack of specific guidance for how to keep schools open, I think more parents are going to err on the side of caution," he said. "

And when numbers begin to shift about positivity rates, schools should think about deciding whether to keep schools open or move to online learning. 

If there is a positivity rate of between 5% to 10%, that is "starting to get iffy," said Gottlieb, and if the rate goes about 10%, schools must think carefully about closing districts, as "that is a sign there is an epidemic underway."

More than 30 states and Washington, D.C., are experiencing upticks in COVID numbers, but Gottlieb said some states are showing a plateau, including in Arizona and Texas. The epidemic is "heating up in South Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, and Illinois. 

Meanwhile, some states are implementing mask mandates, and Gottlieb said that is a "relatively simple" way to hold the disease at bay until there is a vaccine and is a way to "maintain what's really important to us like keeping some businesses open, like getting our kids back to school."

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Uncontrolled spread of coronavirus in the nation's communities will make it "very hard' for schools to open this fall, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday....
gottlieb, schools, cdc, covid
339
2020-41-26
Sunday, 26 July 2020 02:41 PM
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