As school districts across the country decide how and when they can bring students back to campus safely, a major sticking point is emerging: the money to make it happen.
Keeping public schools for 50 million students and more than 7 million staff safe from the coronavirus could require more teachers and substitutes, nurses and custodians. School districts will need to find more buses to allow for more space between children and buy more computers for distance learning. They’ll need to buy sanitizer, masks and other protective equipment. Some are putting up plastic dividers in offices and classrooms.
While public health concerns are getting most of the attention, especially with the nation’s infections and hospitalizations rising, costs have become a major consideration. Many districts are hoping Congress will step in.
The Council of Chief State School Officers says safely reopening public schools could cost between $158 billion and $245 billion,