Fauci Admits Closing Schools For Months During Pandemic Was A ‘Mistake’

 Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged on Tuesday that shuttering schools for months during the COVID pandemic was a “mistake,” a reversal for the former presidential chief medical advisor who became influential in the nation’s response to the malady.

Fauci, 83, was one of the lead members of both the Trump and Biden administrations’ White House COVID teams and frequently appeared beside former President Donald Trump at briefings. The immunologist also led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during the first two years of the pandemic.

Fauci made the admission during an interview on CBS Mornings, saying that while the initial school closures were the right decision, keeping kids out of the classroom for so long was a mistake.

“I think what was not a mistake was the actual closure, because when we had a shutdown that 15 day to flatten the curve, we were in a tsunami of cases. Right here in New York, you had freezer trucks in front of Elmhurst Hospital,” Fauci said.

Fauci said that “shutting down everything immediately … even schools was the right thing.”

“How long you kept it was the problem because there was a disparity throughout the country,” he said.

Fauci also defended his own record, saying he urged states and counties to “close the bars, open the schools, open the schools as quickly and as safely as you possibly can.”

“But initially to close it down was correct,” he said. “Keeping it for a year was not a good idea.”

“So that was a mistake in retrospect? We will not repeat it?” the CBS anchor asked.

“Absolutely, yeah,” Fauci responded.

Previously, Fauci had warned that school shutdowns may be necessary, even ones that would last for months.

In August 2020, Fauci was asked by PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff whether the country was facing “many months of virtual learning” before schools could safely open nationwide.

“In some places, Judy, that may be the case,” Fauci responded. “If you want your schools to open, get your community level down, down to a safe level.”

Also that month, Fauci said, “There may be some areas that the level of the virus is so high that it would not be prudent to bring the children back to school.”

School lockdowns caused massive learning loss across the country among K-12 students in public schools.

In 2022, eighth graders had the lowest U.S. history scores on record and among the lowest civics scores, according to the Department of Education. Only about 13% of eighth graders met proficiency standardsfor U.S. history last year, and only about a fifth of students were proficient or better in civics.


Math and reading scores have also suffered over the pandemic, according to the department. Math scores plummeted among fourth and eighth graders in almost every state, and reading scores have also sunk across the country, erasing the last three decades of progress.

Many students returned to classrooms last year reading at the same level as when the pandemic started, putting them two grade levels behind. One study last year suggested that students lost about 35% of a typical school year’s worth of learning, starting when remote learning began.

In early 2021, a CDC study showed “little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”

However, many schools remained closed for the remainder of that year thanks to teachers unions, which fought against reopening.

Learning loss caused by many months of remote learning spurred parents across the nation to demand schools return to in-person learning, especially after data showed that children were at low risk for serious cases of COVID.

Some parents even ran for school board positions and won, hoping to stop the learning loss in their communities.

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