The decision to close schools because of the threat posed by the coronavirus is made particularly complex because many children from low-income families lack internet access at home (“Coronavirus in N.Y.C. : Why Closing Public Schools Is a ‘Last Resort’ “ The New York Times, Mar. 7). Not only that but public schools are the only place where they can get three hot meals, medical care and clean clothes.
Private schools serve far more advantaged students. Their students have internet access at home, allowing them to work from there. Moreover, they operate independently, without having to follow guidance from local and state education departments. As a result, some elite private schools already have closed their doors for a few days to allow contractors to sterilize their interiors.
If the coronavirus threat persists with the arrival of warm weather, school officials will be faced with a hard decision. Do they keep schools closed for the duration of the semester? They will be criticized for what they do one way or another.
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