Dr. Paul Offit says he doesn’t think the US needs "to wait for vaccination” to get public schools back open.
“I think we have to be able to provide a mechanism whereby we can get those kids back into a public school setting where it can be done safely. It may require more money for those schools, but I definitely think we need to do it,” Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that with the right mitigation measures, there is a path to low-risk, in-person learning. In a paper published Tuesday, researchers noted that the kind of spread seen in crowded offices and long-term care facilities has not been reported in schools.
Offit, a member of the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee, outlined strategies that school can implement.
“You try to have smaller classroom sizes, so-called pods. It's the teachers who move from one class to the other, not the students, so that you don't have these crowded hallways. You try to separate the desks as much as possible, you don't eat in a cafeteria … so you're not all sitting together with your masks off. There are a number of strategies that can be done,” he said.
Offit added that he doesn’t think the Covid-19 variants play a role in reopening schools.