Washington, Today, September discussed on NBC Meet the Press
You know chuck you cannot give a numerical figure to that. You can't say what is what is the risk. Give me a number. I mean obviously being in school is very similar to being in the community so the risk of a of a teacher getting infected in the school is very likely very much similar to what you would see in the community. But we don't know that yet you see. They haven't done those kind of prospect of studies where you can quantitative and make a decision based on this number is here and that number is there because the data get fuzzy when you try to compare what happens when you're not in the school versus when you are in the school. Well you understand why. There's just this. It is caused consternation right the scientists say. Hey look it is relatively safe. Obviously at teachers sits there and says yeah. But i'm still taking risk And i know you don't wanna wait into the politics of this but this is where would you feel comfortable going into a classroom and teaching. I feel comfortable. you know. it's tough because i've not been in that situation. I could tell you. I have a daughter who i adore. Who's actually doing just that right now as we speak in a city far from washington. Dc so i mean i understand the concern that people have and that's the reason why we say you know when you ask a question that specific question it it's appropriate and it's understandable but there are so many complicated issues how the teachers feel how the parents feel about the possibility of bringing infection back home. There are so many things there that you need to consider that thing that we say and chuck. I've been saying this for months and months even anti dating. The cdc guidelines is that the default position is that we should try to do everything we can to get the children back to school safely for the children and safely for the teachers and other educational personnel. And the cdc guidelines. Try to delineate the steps where you can do just that. How do we get them back to school in a safe way and giving a couple of the guidelines more than a couple several of the guidelines of how you can do that and it's not an easy. It's not an easy issue. Chuck anybody that says it's easy decision to make. They're not looking at the complexity of it. Yeah human beings are involved at the end of the day. I want to leave on a on an upbeat note here. We've had cases come down dramatically and this is after what some people feared might be a holiday spike or a super bowl spike. We're not getting that one. Johns hopkins scientists argued in the wall street journal. This means herd. Immunity is coming even faster than perhaps folks thought. What say you to that yeah. I'm not so sure that this is herd immunity that we're talking about. We had a big peak and was starting to come down certainly the number of people that have been infected a contributing to that also some contribution with vaccines not a lot. I don't think we vaccinated enough people yet to get the herd immunity. I think you're seeing the natural peaking and coming down the one common. I wanna make about that chuck for for the viewers and the list. Is that the slope. That's coming down is really terrific. It's very steep and it's coming down very very quickly but we still a level. That's very high. What i don't and none of my colleagues want to see is when you look at that slope to come down to say. Wow we're out of the woods now. We're in good shape. We're not because the baseline of daily infections is still very very high. It's not that three hundred to four hundred thousand that we had some time ago but we want to get that baseline really really really low before we start thinking that we're out of the woods so keep wearing your masks everybody at a minimum. Anyway dr fauci anyway. I i won't let we will scream it as much as we can anyway as always sir. Thank you for coming on and sharing your expertise. Thank you for having me and joining me. Now is the president of the american federation of teachers. It's one of the nation's largest teachers unions randi weingarten Ms weingarten welcome back to meet the press. Randy chuck Okay thank you got it ready. I want to start with where. I think. Many many folks are framing this argument. And you may think it's. It's unfair. But i wanna put this up. This is from the nation. The coronavirus will be with us in one form or another forever. Zero-tolerance made sense in the first year of the pandemic just as it made some sense in the early nineties to fight crime but zero tolerance cannot be a viable long term strategy when it comes to reopening schools and other vital public institutions. and also. Let me let me let you listen to governor gavin newsom because they kind of is making the same point and then. I want to get you to respond. Here's what he said you find whatever you look for so we wanna find reasons not to open. We'll find plenty of reasons if we want to start building on ways to strategize to find ways of getting to where we all want to go. We'll figure that out as well i think. In both instances the question is this randy. What is reasonable risk. How do you define it right. And so look. I so i thank you for letting me be on today chuck because i do actually wanted to bunk this myth. That teacher unions at least are union. doesn't want to reopen schools. We teachers know that in person education is really important. And it's you. We would have said that pre pandemic we knew that remote education is not a good substitute There's a roadmap now. And so you actually can follow that road map in terms of defining those risks and i think between the cdc guidance as well as the resources that President biden is trying to get in the one point nine trillion dollar package We have the highway or the roadmap that allows us to to do this and it comes down to three things. The mitigation the laird mitigation strategies the testing so that you can actually see a symptomatic spread and vaccine prioritization not that every single teacher has to be vaccinated before you open any schools but you should align the vaccine prioritization with the reopening of schools. Is there a model school district right now that you feel as if you could say. Hey this is. This is the way that this can be done. And it'll keep an everybody will be reasonably happy. Yes there's a i mean. There's no perfect solution. But frankly i think that new york city has done a pretty good job in terms of showing the way big school district. Lots of issues in terms of of Old buildings and we learned a lot from what new york city did in september and october. And in fact my members. I just did a survey of my membership and eighty five percent have said that they would be comfortable being in school if they had the kind of testing layered mitigation. Like you know an and vaccine prioritization. And that's what new york city is doing. So i i want to actually lift up. People like washington dc. The mayor actually made sure that every teacher in school employees that one of the vaccine got vaccinated in the last few weeks. Same in terms. Of the oregon. Governor save in terms of the west. Virginia governor. Same in terms of the ohio governor. And so the when. I hear Politicians when i hear governor newsom saying you're always going to find a way out. Well why is he not actually prioritizing the teachers in la where they've been in purple purple zone not in red zone so so..