BERKELEY (KPIX) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was a special guest of the Berkeley Forum on Thursday.

Dr. Fauci gave his insights regarding a possible vaccine for COVID-19 and how students could safely be able to return to school. Students mainly wanted to know how they can get back to in-person learning.

“These are dreams shattered. I’ve always wanted to get instruction here and I’m doing all of this online,” said Cal student Gabriel Kelvin.

As a transfer student, Kelvin worries he could graduate without ever setting foot inside a Cal classroom.

Many students said online education is just not the same.

“I understand that faculty and professors are trying their very best but I still feel like we’re not getting the full sense of it,” Christy Chavez said.

Dr. Fauci gave very little hope that a safe return to school will happen anytime soon.

“If we get a vaccine now, I can see some sort of normality in third quarter or fourth quarter of 2021,” Fauci said.

Dr. Fauci stressed the importance of a vaccine but said it won’t be 100-percent effective nor will everyone opt to get it.

“We have two chores we need to address,” Dr. Fauci explained. “For those who want the vaccine that there is equitable distribution and we need to be transparent about the advantages of getting vaccinated.”

Fauci believes a vaccine has to be supplemented with aggressive testing.

“Test all the students before they come into campus and the dorms if colleges are dominated by dormitory life. Then do surveillance testing a couple of times a week,” Fauci said.

As dorm residents, Kelvin and Chavez say they are already being tested twice a week. With the proper precautions, they feel a safe return to school can happen now.

“So if I’m already being tested I feel like we should have the right to choose. I would personally like to choose to be on campus and I’m willing to take that risk,” Kelvin said.

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