A reporter at Tuesday's White House coronavirus press briefing raised the question many, many parents want answered: How soon will the kids be going back to school? This school year is probably out in most of the country, but what about summer school? In the fall?
Vice President Mike Pence, who was at the lectern, thanked America's teachers for adjusting to remote learning. The coronavirus task force will work on "guidance going forward, whether it be summer school or whether it be returning to school next fall," he said, "but the most important thing we can do is put this epidemic behind us as quickly as possible."
Pence turned the stage over to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Well, my daughter is a school teacher, so she asked me the same question," Fauci said. "I fully expect — though I'm humble enough to know that I can't accurately predict — that by the time we get to the fall, that we will have this under control enough that it certainly will not be the way it is now, where people are shutting schools. My optimistic side tells me that we'll be able to renew, to a certain extent — but it's going to be different, remember now, because this is not going to disappear."
Assuming the U.S. has the ability to widely test for the disease, determine how many people have built up antibodies after surviving the virus, and trace the contacts of newly infected people, U.S. health officials will have a much better grasp of the situation in the fall, Fauci said. "All of these things are going to go into the decision of just how much back to the original way we'd like it to be in the fall. Bottom line is no absolute prediction, but I think we're going to be in good shape." Peter Weber