Why only some kids should go back to school

A student.
(Image credit: Halfpoint/iStock)

As coronavirus cases continue to climb in the U.S., the question of whether or not schools should open in the fall presents an "absolute disaster of epic proportions with no good answers, no clear sides, and no room for either/or thinking," says Shayla R. Griffin, Ph.D., MSW, author of Those Kids, Our Schools & Race Dialogues. In a Medium post, Griffin says that instead of either/or thinking, we should try a both/and solution: Some schools should open. Some students should go.

More specifically, schools should open full-time only for the students most at the margins, "who are at greatest risk if school buildings remain closed, who cannot meet their basic needs without them." This includes children who need school in order to eat, or are too young to be at home alone while parents go back to work, or who have disabilities "that cannot be supported outside of a school building."

Everybody else should stay home "so that there is some hope of educating those who truly cannot stay home safely." While this plan will be hard for everyone, Griffin says, "unlike many of the other proposals I've seen, at least this response will be both hard and just."

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Jessica Hullinger

Jessica Hullinger is a writer and former deputy editor of The Week Digital. Originally from the American Midwest, she completed a degree in journalism at Indiana University Bloomington before relocating to New York City, where she pursued a career in media. After joining The Week as an intern in 2010, she served as the title’s audience development manager, senior editor and deputy editor, as well as a regular guest on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast. Her writing has featured in other publications including Popular Science, Fast Company, Fortune, and Self magazine, and she loves covering science and climate-related issues.