Dr. Anthony Fauci has denied playing a role in school closings during the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming he “had nothing to do with it.”
Fauci, who is preparing to soon retire from his position as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the comments during a new ABC News interview.
However, he admitted that the “deleterious collateral consequences” of school closures should have been realized.
Fauci argues that, while he is criticized for being responsible for school closings during the pandemic, he “had nothing to do with it.”
“If you go back, and I ask anybody to go back over the number of times that I’ve said we’ve got to do everything we can to keep the schools open, no one plays that clip,” said Fauci, who serves as Democrat President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor.
“They always say ‘Fauci was responsible for closing schools.’
“I had nothing to do [with it],” Fauci said to Jonathan Karl of ABC News.
“I mean, let’s get down to the facts.”
At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Fauci said that in areas where there is “community spread” schools should be shut down, according to an interview with PBS News.
“So, clearly, in certain circumstances, particularly in areas where there’s community spread, the schools should be closed,” Fauci told PBS News.
During a White House Briefing in April 2020, Fauci criticized Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s plan to keep schools open throughout the pandemic.
Fauci warned that the move would contribute to the spread of the virus.
“If you have a situation where you don’t have a real good control over an outbreak and you allow children together, they will likely get infected,” Fauci said.
In January 2021, Fauci said that Biden’s plan to reopen schools within the first 100 days of his presidency “may not happen” due to “mitigating circumstances.”
A year later in January 2022, Fauci said schools should reopen but urged parents to vaccinate their children.
He also said they should continue day-to-day testing and wear masks in school.
Fauci’s statements come as learning levels see historic lows in American schools.
Reading levels have fallen back to where they were in 1990, while math scores see their first-ever decline.
School districts that stayed remote, rather than returning to in-person learning, took the largest learning loss hits.