CDC's Walensky gets emotional talking about her son's return to in-person learning

During the U.S. Department of Education’s National Safe School Reopening Summit on Wednesday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thanked school staff and students for their resilience while teaching and learning during the coronavirus pandemic, and got emotional when she described her son’s return to in-person learning.

Video Transcript

ROCHELLE WALENSKY: To the school teachers, leaders, staff, and students, I want to share my heartfelt gratitude for your innovation and true resilience over this past year. You have successfully navigated unprecedented challenges in how you teach and how our students learn. As a mother of three, I, too, have experienced the challenges and uncertainties within my own family, and it's not easy.

My son's back-to-school night happened right after I was nominated to be the director of the CDC. I heard from his history teacher about how hard it was to engage students on Zoom, and from his other teachers about how hard it was to do biology labs on Zoom. This experience was front and center for me as I took this role at the CDC.

Before I close, I want to acknowledge that the decision to return to in-person learning is not one I take lightly. As a parent, I know this may be one of the hardest decisions you have to make since this pandemic began. My youngest son recently returned to hybrid school about a month ago. Last week, he said to me, "mom, it finally feels like I'm in school again."

I'm so glad he's back.