Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health and member of President Trump’s Coronavirus task force, spoke with Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo Wednesday. 

According to Fauci, Rhode Island has maintained a low enough infection rate, and is working to put the proper quarantine and contact tracing measures in place to expect reopening schools for teachers and students to be safe. 

“Now there will always be cases,” Fauci said. “The question is, how do you prevent those blips of cases from becoming something that obviates the whole program. That’s the thing that you’re preparing for, but you’re starting from a very good place.” 

Teachers, parents and state leaders are deeply divided about any return to in-person classes. The state will offer its final recommendation for school reopenings, at the end of the month. Gov. Raimondo maintains in-person needs to remain an option if the Department of Health deems it safe. Most of Rhode Island’s teachers, represented by two unions, are pushing for a return to virtual classes to start the year. 

“Nothing is one hundred percent, and it’s how you respond to the outlier that counts,” Fauci said.