Governor Raimondo talks school safety with Dr. Fauci
Some Rhode Island teachers tells ABC 6 ventilation is one of their main concerns in Rhode Island's aging school buildings.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Dr. Anthony Fauci tried to comfort parents and teachers Thursday that the state has done what it needs to reopen schools safely during Governor Raimondo’s weekly Facebook Live on the topic of reopening schools.
“It’s going to be safe to go back to teaching merely because you happen to be in a state, in a city, in a county, in which the infection rate is so low,” said Fauci.
He also spoke of the importance of having good ventilation in classrooms. But some Rhode Island teachers tells ABC 6 ventilation is one of their main concerns in Rhode Island’s aging school buildings.
Fauci described the need to keep up social distancing and mask wearing in schools, increase outdoor time, and make sure the classrooms have good ventilation.
“Outdoor is always better than indoors. Good ventilation. Keep the windows open if the weather permits,” said Fauci.
President of the Providence Teachers Union Maribeth Calabro estimates the average age of school buildings in Rhode Island is about 60 years old, and some are much older, making good ventilation harder to come by.
“We don’t have the luxury of having buildings that have Hepa systems and filtration systems that are up to date and regularly maintained,” said Calabro.
Dr. Fauci also recommends keeping the windows open on buses as well as in classrooms. But Calabro says some rooms don’t even have windows.
“First you have to hope that the windows open,” she said.
Warwick Teachers Union President Darlene Netcoh noted the same issues about their buildings.
“Our HVAC systems are not compatible with the guidelines for fresh airflow,” said Netcoh.
ABC 6 reached out to RIDE for further comment on these specific concerns regarding ventilation, but did not immediately hear back.
The new date for the start of the school year as of now is September 14.