Former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, Dr. Scott Atlas told Fox News there are “zero excuses” to keep children from returning to schools in the fall.
“There is virtually zero risk for children getting something serious or dying from this disease. Anyone who thinks schools should be closed is not talking about the children. It has nothing to do with the children’s risk,” he said. “There’s no rational reason or science to say that children transmit the disease significantly.”
Dr. Atlas pointed out that many American teachers are not in high-risk age groups and therefore, should not be concerned. He also noted that those who are nervous or high-risk can take extra precautions.
“It’s true that there are high-risk teachers and those teachers should be able to believe in their social distancing and masks. They can teach using social distancing. And if they still are afraid they can stay at home. There’s no reason to lock up the children,” he said.
According to Dr. Atlas, closing down the schools and continuing online education would hinder children from a full learning experience that includes social interaction and hands-on teaching.
“Long distance learning is a failure,” he said.
Dr. Atlas also added that many other Western countries have opened and operated schools during the pandemic successfully.
“We are the only country not opening schools. This is absurd,” he said. “Look at the science. I’m saying use critical thinking and logic.”
Despite skepticism from the CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield on the current COVID-19 situation paired with the upcoming flu season, Dr. Atlas believes that keeping schools closed would be a grave policy mistake.
“This is the biggest problem of all. Yet again we are going to commit some severe public policy without regards to the harm of the public policy,” he said. “If we start acting out of fear and are an outlier in this country, this country is finished.”
“You either believe the science or not,” he added. “You can’t insist that you believe in the science and then act contrary to science.”
Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it may cut federal funding to schools that fail to reopen.
“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!” Trump tweeted.
Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos both pledged to re-open schools.
“For our kids development, our working families, and our economy, we MUST Open Up Schools Again!” wrote the VP.
The @WhiteHouse Coronavirus Task Force met today to discuss the impact of closed schools on millions of American families & a path forward for reopening America's schools this fall. For our kids development, our working families, and our economy, we MUST Open Up Schools Again! pic.twitter.com/PAVunK6KX5
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) July 8, 2020
“We can reopen schools safely & ensure learning continues,” tweeted DeVos.
Five pediatricians interviewed by @NBCNightlyNews agree the benefits of being in school “far outweigh” the risks of #COVID19 for students. All 5 plan to send their kids back to school in the fall. We can reopen schools safely & ensure learning continues. https://t.co/bnRUB1S6vq
— Secretary Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) July 14, 2020