July 9, 2020 at 9:05 PM EDT
U.S. schools hope to reopen for 56.6 million K-12 students
In just a matter of weeks, tens of millions of children will start a new school year, and what that will look like has become the nation’s thorniest political and epidemiological issue. School officials have to figure out how to resume schooling while limiting the risks to children, their teachers, school staffers and their communities.
This pivotal moment in the pandemic comes as scientists are still trying to understand precisely how the virus affects children and how children affect the spread of the virus. This dicey decision point has generated tension between President Trump and his own public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with Trump saying the CDC is “asking schools to do very impractical things” to allow classes to resume.
The reopening of schools is likely to be halting and improvisational. It could be marked by setbacks. There is no proven strategy for the remobilization of 56.6 million K-12 students amid a pandemic like this one.
By Joel Achenbach, Laura Meckler and Chelsea Janes