Dr. Anthony Fauci: School Closures During COVID-19 Were a ‘Mistake’ (VIDEO)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent advisor during the COVID-19 pandemic, has reversed his stance on the extended closure of schools, admitting in a recent interview that keeping schools closed for more than a year was a “mistake.”

In an interview with “CBS Mornings” co-host Tony Dokoupil, Dr. Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), reflected on the school closures. “Keeping it for a year was not a good idea,” Fauci said, in promotion of his new memoir “On Call: A Doctor’s Journey in Public Service.” When asked if this was a mistake that should not be repeated, Fauci responded, “Absolutely, yeah.”

During the summer of 2020, Fauci strongly advocated for school closures, often clashing with then-President Donald Trump. Fauci supported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which recommended closures based on community virus spread. Trump criticized these guidelines as impractical and costly, leading to public disputes between the two.

As some schools reopened in September 2020, data from Brown University’s National COVID-19 School Response Data Dashboard showed fewer than 1% of schools reported COVID-19 cases. A January 2021 CDC study found little evidence that schools significantly contributed to community transmission. Despite this, most schools remained closed through the 2020-2021 academic year due to pressure from teachers’ unions and concerns about virus spread.

During his testimony before the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Fauci admitted the six-feet social distancing guidelines lacked scientific backing, contributing to the closure decisions. This mandate, which drastically limited in-person learning, was revealed to be more of an empiric decision rather than data-driven.

The prolonged closures led to significant educational setbacks. A 2022 report by the US Department of Education showed reading scores among nine-year-olds dropped to their lowest levels in 30 years, while math scores fell for the first time in 50 years. Critics argue that the guidance promoted by public health officials and teachers’ unions did not justify such prolonged closures.