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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The massive influx of COVID-19 cases affected many holiday plans, and just as we get into the New Year, the virus is having a big impact on schools.

“The acceleration of cases that we’ve seen is really unprecedented. Gone well beyond anything that we’ve seen before,” White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Fauci told ABC’s This Week, vaccination is the best way to combat the Omicron variant.

“When Omicron comes down to a low level, we keep it down at a low level, enough that it doesn’t disrupt our society, our economy, or our way of life,” Fauci said.

But just as millions of kids are ready to go back to the classroom, COVID-19 is impacting school districts across the country.

“But I still believe very firmly and very passionately, not only as an educator but as a parent that our students belong in the classroom and we can do it safely,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Cardona said the administration will continue to support in-person learning, despite the latest CDC data showing a jump in child hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

“We do believe our schools can remain open. We have to stay vigilant, we have to stay focused on those mitigation strategies that work and we have to continue to work together to give our students a chance to learn in the classroom,” Cardona said.

Dr. Fauci says parents need to take every step to protect their kids, by getting them vaccinated, wearing masks and getting tested.

“I think all of those things put together, it’s safe enough to get those kids back to school,” Fauci said.

Cardona says the administration is working with school districts to set up systems so that resources are readily available to mitigate the spread of the virus.