There is a better way: Allow schools to offer only virtual classes this fall, and convert schools and other large unused spaces into Safe Centers for Online Learning. We could call them not schools, but “SCOLs.”

This is not a radical concept. Many universities are bringing some portion of their student body back to campus, but still holding classes mostly or exclusively online.

Students who can keep learning at home should do so. As a result, the centers would not be crowded and it would be possible to maintain social distancing.

Staff members would simply help students connect to online courses provided by their schools — they would not need to be teachers themselves with subject matter expertise. Recent college graduates could be recruited to work at these centers, and a college loan forgiveness program could incentivize participation. While some teachers could opt to work in a SCOL, most would be able to work remotely and spend their time developing effective online classes.