In a recent interview with ABC News, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that widely-shared photos of a crowded high schools that have reopened are “disturbing.”
The images show many students not wearing masks at schools like North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, which has since reported at least nine cases of coronavirus among students and staff.
Fauci said universal mask wearing is a crucial step to slowing the spread of the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that images of a crowded Georgia high school hallways are “disturbing” in a recent ABC News interview.
He added that masks and social distancing will be “essential” to preventing more coronavirus cases as schools return to in-person learning, and that the images show what to avoid while attempting to safely reopen.
Photos of North Paulding High in Dallas, Georgia were widely shared last week on social media as students returned to class August 3rd, with many people expressing concern about the crowd of students in an apparently small space, with few wearing masks.
“There should be universal wearing of masks, there should be, to the extent possible, social distancing, avoiding crowds,” Fauci told ABC anchor David Muir. “We’ve got to make our primary consideration the health, the safety, and the welfare of the children and of the teachers.”
The district’s administration has faced backlash for its policy that wearing masks is a “personal choice” that the school is unable to enforce.
Students who posted photos of the crowded hallways on social media received suspensions (which were later revoked) and were threatened with “consequences” for depicting the school in a negative light. Others at the school said wearing a mask was uncommon and students had faced unwanted attention or even bullying for doing so.
North Paulding High has already reported at least nine cases of coronavirus in the first week after reopening, and shut down Aug. 10 for a two-day period to reassess.
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