Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the US government’s coronavirus response claimed that he was not part of the decision to shut down schools, saying that it led to detrimental effects on children.
When asked by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl on Sunday whether it was a “mistake” for schools to be closed down as long as they were, Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and is stepping down in December after five decades in the role, said, “I don’t want to use the word ‘mistake,’ Jon, because if I do, it gets taken out of the context that you’re asking me the question on,” Fauci said. “We should realize, and have realized, that there will be deleterious collateral consequences when you do something like that.”
Fauci went on to say the virus has killed nearly 1,500 children, but that he always emphasized health officials must do “everything we can to keep the schools open.”
“No one plays that clip. They always say ‘Fauci was responsible for closing schools.’ I had nothing to do [with it]. I mean, let’s get down to the facts,” Fauci told ABC News.
Studies have gone on to show that school closures contributed to unprecedented learning loss in K-12 students. Average reading scores for 9-year-olds fell five points and average math scores fell seven points in 2022 compared to scores in 2020. The decline in reading scores was the largest drop in over three decades, while the decline in math scores was the first on record.