What would a coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. mean for schools?

Around the nation, school officials and parents were flummoxed by the sudden warning that if a coronavirus epidemic hit the United States, school buildings could be shut down for long periods of time, leaving children sequestered at home and schools scrambling to provide remote instruction.

In warning that the coronavirus will almost certainly spread in the United States, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said she had contacted her own local school superintendent this week and asked if the district was prepared. She advised parents to do the same. And she suggested that a temporary system of “internet-based teleschooling” could replace traditional schools…

The obstacles to teaching remotely were evident: American children have uneven access to home computers and broadband internet. Schools have limited expertise in providing instruction online on a large scale. And parents would be forced to juggle their own work responsibilities with what could amount to “a vast unplanned experiment in mass home-schooling,” said Kevin Carey, vice president for education policy at New America, a think tank.