'We have figured out how to make schools safe': Dr. Ashish Jha

Martha Raddatz interviews Brown University School of Public Health Dean Dr. Ashish Jha on "This Week."
3:08 | 03/07/21

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Transcript for 'We have figured out how to make schools safe': Dr. Ashish Jha
Let's analyze all this with Dr. Ashish jha, Dean of the brown university's school of public health. Good morning, doctor. I'm curious about what you would say about teachers who have been fully vaccinated not wanting to go back to the class room even though they took vaccinations as a priority. Yes, good morning, Martha. Thanks for having me on. We have figured out how to make schools safe, and we have lots of evidence that with mask wearing and reasonable ventilation schools can be very safe places. I also advocated for teachers' vaccinations as an added layer of protection. And I believe most teachers will be perfectly willing to go back, it's safe for them and it's safe for the kids. Always will be outliers. No question of public health and safety when we think about vaccinated teachers in schools. With good policies. And let's talk about lifting those restrictions in Texas. I have a lot of friends in Texas. They'll tell you that lifting the mask mandate it's okay,. Everyone can make up their own minds, I can't help but think about those restaurant workers who have no choice of keeping their jobs and healthcare workers, I imagine you have the same concerns and more. Yeah, you know, what's interesting about the mask mandate it's not just about personal choice, if I were to drink and get behind the wheel of the car it's not just a personal choice that I'd be putting my life at risk I would be putting other people's lives at risk. When you wear a mask you're not just protecting yourself you're protecting people around you. While infection numbers are high, it's absolutely the responsible thing to do to keep those mask mandates in place, that's what public health is about, and I believe states should be very careful about easing them. They can ease them, absolutely, but when numbers come down, when more people are vaccinated, that's the time to be easing them. Doctor, you and others have been given these recommendations endlessly over the last year. Many ignore it. How does what you have seen this week and these states that are now opening things up change your calculus on how soon the country gets back to "Normal" assuming the vaccines stay on track? Well, first of all, fairly optimistic about what the summer will bring, I think we'll have plenty of vaccines for everybody and most Americans will have gotten vaccinated by the summer. Life will be meaningfully better. The moves this week by the governors of Texas and Mississippi do two things. They can slow our time line when things get back to normal and they put a lot of people in those states at risk of getting infected and dying. And given how close we are to the finish line, anybody who gets infected today and dies in three or four weeks is someone who would have gotten vaccinated a month from now. That's why it's urgent to keep going for a little bit longer. I think a lot of these restrictions can start coming down later April, certainly by may, but not right now. Okay, great advice as always, Dr. Jha.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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