To the Editor:
After reading the article “Millions Will Be Out of School for Weeks Due to Coronavirus. It May Not Be Long Enough,” I’ve come to understand that decisions must be made quickly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in school districts and citywide where possible (March 13, 2020). There are concerns about the impacts of school closures on economically disadvantaged students who rely on schools for meals, and parents who cannot take off from work or afford childcare.
While these issues are critical, temporary school closures are a reliable method to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The virus poses a serious public health risk, particularly for those who are immunocompromised and the elderly—some of whom live with school-age children. School closures would eliminate large gatherings of hundreds to thousands of people, thus lessening the spread of COVID-19.
We need leaders to come up with solutions that would positively impact our most vulnerable, while weakening the spread of COVID-19. Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyger came up with a plan. On Twitter he stated, “Open family resource sites in each borough to provide meals, services for [the] medically fragile, and prioritize childcare for healthcare workers/first responders, and those who need it, among other services.” These are promising actions which city leaders across the United States should consider to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and to help those who need continuous support as we get through this difficult time.
A version of this article appeared in the March 25, 2020 edition of Education Week as Schools Must Act on COVID-19