Let’s first acknowledge a hard truth: Widespread school closures come with devastating costs.
First, school closures are creating “virtual dropouts.” Twenty percent of Boston high school students didn’t log into class in May, and only half of the elementary school children in Philadelphia made daily contact. Even those with access to computers who do check in are not learning in the same way. This will increase our country’s education gap and exacerbate racial and social inequalities — with impacts that will persist for years.
Second, school closures impact kids’ health. Students who are out of school are more likely to be sedentary and experience weight gain. Many also lose access to hot meals; millions of children rely on federal programs for free or reduced-price meals.
Third, a disproportionate burden of working from home is falling on women. Many are now working two extra jobs: household manager and home-schooling supervisor. This widens another gap in our society, as working women risk either dropping out of the workplace or face career advancement challenges that many men, and those without children, won’t have.