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No, Big COVID-19 School Lockdowns Are Not Around The Corner

Here’s why you shouldn’t worry about general lockdowns at all.

Back view of six high school students walking in a school corridor.
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Ah, back to school season. From school supply shopping to recalibrating both our kids’ and our schedules, the process of returning to school is rarely smooth — even if parents are relieved, finally, to no longer deal with summer childcare problems. But many parents are concerned about the rise in fall illnesses — a consistent reality, with or without COVID-19 concerns. And claims made by alt-right radio show host Alex Jones that big COVID-19 lockdowns are on the way amidst a rise in cases spiraling aren’t helping parental anxiety.

Any parent who has heard these claims may get nervous. There’s no wonder why! Three years ago, when COVID-19 first hit the U.S., and lockdowns followed to help control the spread of infection, it was a very challenging time for parents, and that’s putting it lightly.

Parents had to juggle kids thrown into remote schooling, with many juggling more than one child. All the while, they had to figure out how to keep their jobs — whether they could shift to remote work or if they worked on the front line, like at grocery stores or in healthcare. Add in the stress of zero childcare, and it was a nightmare many are still trying to crawl out of.

But have no fear: The claims are not true.

According to reporting from the Associated Press, fears about widespread school lockdowns originated from an August 18 episode of The Alex Jones Show, “Federal Officials Blow the Whistle on Biden’s Plan for New COVID Lockdowns.” In the episode, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claimed that anonymous sources in the government told him to expect a series of lockdown-related measures to be taken over this fall and into December.

On the show, Jones claimed that anonymous government sources at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) told him that “COVID protocols” would be returning, and that TSA employees would be required to wear masks, as would, eventually, travelers on planes, among other travel restrictions. Jones’ claims quickly spread across social media.

But there is zero validity to Jones’ claims. According to, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — the agency that would be responsible for enacting mask mandates in travel — and the TSA both debunked what Jones said about a potential “lockdown.” The TSA said they were unaware of any possibility that TSA employees would be required to wear masks again, and the CDC called the rumors of lockdowns “utterly false.” CBP also told FactCheck that rumors that the organization “has plans to independently reintroduce COVID-19 protocols are false.”

Furthermore, the “Biden plan,” as Jones referred to it, doesn’t really exist. As one expert who spoke to put it: “The restrictions that were put into place on businesses, on going to the movie theater, on going to the retail mall … all of those were done by states and local governments, not the federal government,” said Wendy E. Parmet, a public health law expert at Northeastern University.

What is true, though, is that COVID cases and hospital admissions related to the virus are rising nationally. And with kids returning to school, we’re likely to see a confluence of illnesses — between COVID, influenza, and RSV — which will undoubtedly impact families who need to juggle childcare, school, and work with sick days.

According to ABC 7 News, two districts in Kentucky have already closed their doors due to "widespread illness" consistent with influenza and COVID. Additionally, a school in Texas has temporarily halted extracurricular activities due to rising cases in its community.

However, these are just a few schools out of thousands and thousands, and those temporary closed doors certainly do not amount to nationwide shutdowns. Yes, there’s always the possibility that some individual schools or districts nationwide need to temporarily pause in-person classes or extracurricular activities due to rampant illness, but there is no validity or concern to the rumors that widespread lockdowns are coming.

And if you’re nervous about your kid getting sick during the back-to-school season, and if you want to help keep your family safe amid rising COVID-19, flu, and RSV cases while keeping the spread in your community down, following the same protocols we’ve been encouraged to do for the past three years still works.

Ensure that you and the family are up to date on vaccinations, get the COVID booster when the new one is available later this fall, encourage your kids to wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, and consider masking if cases and hospitalization numbers are high locally or if anyone in your household is at high risk of severe complications from COVID.