OAN Roy Francis
9:01 AM – Friday, May 5, 2023
Former Chief Medical Advisor to the President Doctor Anthony Fauci along with President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, deny responsibility for having schools shut down during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Speaking to the New York Times Magazine in April Dr. Fauci said that he had merely given a recommendation and never criticized anyone or the decisions they made.
“Show me a school that I shut down and show me a factory that I shut down. Never. I never did,” Fauci had said. “I gave a public health recommendation that echoed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation, and people made a decision based on that. But I never criticized the people who had to make the decisions one way or the other.”
However, during the beginning of the pandemic Fauci, who was serving as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the time, said that he was in favor of a federal lockdown.
He appeared on CNN in March 2020 and said that in order to contain the virus, people should do “whatever it takes.”
Dr. Fauci had also changed his views on masks. During the beginning of the pandemic he had said that there is no reason for anyone to wear a mask and that it could cause people to get sicker. However, he changed his stance weeks later and started to push and mandating a universal mask mandate for anyone over the age of two.
During his appearance in a PBS documentary in March, he expressed his regret that he had not supported the mask mandates earlier.
“Maybe I should have done that,” he said. “yeah I was wrong.”
When schools began to open for in-person classes again, Fauci along with the CDC had insisted on kids in school being six feet apart to prevent the spread of the virus, which made school operations almost impossible.
“The minimal thing that you should do is the kind of things that we’ve been talking about constantly: wearing a mask, maintaining six feet of distance, avoiding crowds,” Fauci said at the time.
Fauci also supported CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in 2021 as she decried states like Florida that had not passed a mask or vaccine mandate for teachers and students as schools opened up again.
Fauci also attacked anyone who had questioned his decisions. During his appearance on MSNBC in 2021, he said that his decisions are based on science and that the questions against him are “dangerous.”
“It’s very dangerous,” Fauci had said. “A lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science, because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning, have been fundamentally based on science.”
Weingarten, who is the head of one of the nation’s strongest teachers union, also told Congress during her hearing before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic last week that she was in favor of opening schools, and that teachers “wanted to be in school.”
“We wanted to be in school,” she said at her congressional hearing. “I’ve said that over and over again.”
Although Weingarten claimed to have been wanting to open schools, her union had made a long list of demands which included “6-foot physical distancing, contact tracing, retrofitted ventilation systems, and that schools only reopen in places where the government had the authority to ‘trigger’ school closures in the event of an uptick in COVID-19 cases.”
In 2020, Weingarten had slammed the Trump administration’s plans to reopen schools by the fall of that year saying it was “reckless” and “cruel.” She had also called for more funding for schools, threatening a strike if they did not give in the list of demands that her union made. She also went on to say that schools will not operate the same way that they did in the past.
“There’s no way that you’re going to have full-time schools for all the kids and all the teachers the way we used to have it,” she said in 2020.
During the beginning of President Joe Biden’s presidency, Fauci and Weingarten had said that the funding that teachers and school would receive through the American Rescue Plan would give the school staff the resources they need for schools to re-open safely.
However, after the American Rescue Plan passed, Weingarten went on to demand that in order for teachers to return to teaching safely, they would need billions more in funding.
According to the New York Post, Weingarten’s American Teachers Federation was in constant contact with top officials at the CDC days before the Biden administration released the school reopening guidelines in 2021.
The New York Post found that the suggestions that the American Teachers Federation had made to the CDC were used in the guidelines that were later released by the CDC.
The CDC had been working to released guidelines which allow in-person instructions no matter the transmission rates. However, after communication with Weingarten’s union, a provision was included which stated that “in the event of high community-transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.”
More requests from the American Teachers Federation were implemented such as remote work access for teachers “who have documented risk conditions or who are at increased risk,” as well as “staff who have household member” that is also considered high risk to the virus.
According to Fox News, the American Teachers Federation had also received copies of the guidelines that the CDC planned to release before it was available to the public.
“This is normal rulemaking frankly,” Weingarten said in 2021 defending the actions her union had taken along with the CDC. “This is what ever administration used to do. The problem with the last administration is that they didn’t do it.”
Fauci is also defending his decisions and said that he does not believe the lockdowns went too far.
“Well, I don’t think it’s forever irreparably damaged anyone,” he told Fox news in 2022, “People selectively … pull things out about me.”
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