Schools shouldn’t wait for every teacher to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to reopen, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s “important” for educators to receive the vaccine but not necessary to resume classes.
“It’s been clear that’s not a sine qua non. You can’t say we’re not going to open any schools unless all of the teachers get vaccinated,” Fauci told CNN anchor Jim Sciutto.
Fauci said states should still prioritize teachers for vaccinations, while following other health guidelines such as masking, sanitizing and social distancing.
“They are a priority when it comes to essential personnel, but we think we can move forward as we vaccinate teachers, but it doesn’t have to be that if they’re not vaccinated, you can’t open the school,” Fauci said.
Fauci’s recommendations are in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidelines for returning to schools.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, told reporters that vaccinating teachers is “an additional layer of protection,” but to focus on other public health recommendations.
“We know that most clusters in the school setting have occurred when there are breaches in mask wearing,” Walensky said.
The CDC released its guide for reopening schools last week.