Dr. Scott Atlas, a former special adviser to the Trump administration, warned public schools against embracing draconian safety measures as they move toward returning children to their classrooms amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In an appearance on "Fox News Primetime" Monday, Atlas pointed to a widely circulated video taken by a South Carolina teacher frustrated with the current state of in-school learning. Fifth-grade teacher Teresa Holmes filmed her empty classroom with roughly 28 desks outfitted with isolated plexiglass pods.
"This is completely ludicrous, not with the science at all," Atlas told host Rachel Campos-Duffy. "It is almost insane."
As teacher's unions ramp up demands for vaccine priority and additional funding for better ventilation systems before students and staff can safely return, the country inches closer to creating an "incredibly neurotic generation," Atlas said.
"We have children, young children, wearing masks, being separated, thinking they are an infection vector for everyone and that everyone is a danger to them," he explained. "I mean, this is really a tragedy here unfolding. This will go down as an epic failure of public policy."
The CDC released new guidance last week highlighting "layered mitigation strategies" to reduce COVID transmission in schools. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed that schools can reopen before teachers are vaccinated, but Biden chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci claimed that schools need the new COVID relief bill to pass in order to reopen safely.
Atlas accused Fauci of embracing politics over scientific data, telling Campos-Duffy that it is a "disgrace when scientists and public health officials start sort of talking about political ideas and political bill passages."
"Really, we are off the rails here," he warned. "People have to wake up. Parents are in charge of their school boards and they ought to start acting like it or they are gonna get what they are being told."
"It’s outrageous," Atlas added, "[and] it’s a real embarrassment to the United States."