Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, laid out how colleges and universities should successfully open, and the conditions that he feels would be necessary for sending his own children onto a college campus, in a phone interview with CNN.
As the fall semester begins at colleges across the country with mixed results, Fauci said that colleges and universities should only consider reopening if they can test all of their students at the start of the semester, conduct surveillance testing at various intervals, and have spaces dedicated for students who inevitably contract Covid-19 to quarantine.
“They got to have the capability of doing the testing to begin with. They got to have the capability of doing surveillance testing, as you get into the school year, and they have to have a plan of how they handle the inevitability of some students who are going to wind up getting affected” Fauci said.
Fauci specifically highlighted the planning around designating specific spaces for students who contract the virus as key to the whole equation.
“The whole thing could fall apart if you don't handle that well” Fauci said. “In other words you could intend to bring people back to person to person learning on a college campus and then if you don't have a good preparation, or a plan of what to do with them if and when they do get infected and likely it's very likely that some students will get infected.”
Fauci said the schools that have followed this game plan “are the ones that have succeeded thus far.”
More details: Without revealing who, Fauci said that he has consulted with presidents of schools that ultimately decided not to open for in-person instruction this fall, largely because they could not carry out the protocol he deemed as necessary.
For campuses that have opened, Fauci said that large student parties and social gatherings that violate an institution’s social distancing guidelines are a driving factor in increasing the case counts of their universities.
“I think that's pretty clear. I mean they haven't done the official study to prove that, but the circumstantial evidence is pretty compelling, that when you get students that then congregate without masks in a party setting, particularly if the party is indoors in a sorority or a fraternity, you know that's a recipe for having an outbreak” Fauci said.