Costs and Benefits of School Closings Differ by ZIP Code

(Bloomberg Opinion) — As communities prepare to reopen their public schools, many parents, students and teachers alike worry that it’s still too soon. But the evidence tells us that the longer that physical classrooms stay closed, the less students will learn, and the gap between haves and have-nots will grow even wider.    

The governor of Florida is being sued by the teachers’ union on the ground that the order to reopen schools violates the state constitution’s guarantee of a “safe” education. In my own state of Connecticut, the teachers union has called for schools to remain shut until funding is available for weekly Covid-19 testing for all students, teachers and staff. Although the safety concerns are understandable, they’re not the whole of the story. 

“Safe” is a relative, not an absolute, term. It’s always a measure of risks versus benefits, as when we climb confidently into our car despite the

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