How America could have kept schools open

Congress allocated $190 billion to schools for pandemic response. What happened?

School.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

Schools across the country are shutting down again. The spectacular surge of Omicron cases has left thousands of teachers and students sick, and many others quite logically fear infection or spreading the virus to their immunocompromised relatives or unvaccinated young children. In some places, teachers unions are demanding a short break to let the wave at least pass — in Chicago, for instance, teachers voted to return to remote classes until January 18.

This turn of events has driven a number of centrist and liberal commentators to distraction, if not full-blown derangement. Shutdowns have "been less defensible for the past year and a half, as we have learned more about both COVID and the extent of children's suffering from pandemic restrictions," writes David Leonhardt at The New York Times. "Moving to remote learning at this point is not responsible," economist Emily Oster said on CNN. Elections data geek Nate Silver said in a Twitter argument with Mother Jones' Clara Jeffrey that school closures generally were possibly a worse mistake than the Iraq war (!).

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us