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Closing schools for COVID-19

On Sunday, Minnesota joined the growing number of school districts across the nation who are closing down because of concern that keeping them open might help spread COVID-19 — the coronavirus.

State and school officials are well aware that shutting down schools, perhaps for weeks, is not just a matter of trying to find ways for students to learn from their homes — though that certainly is a consideration.

Of more concern is how closures would affect children and their families.

As Education Week reported last week, “Millions of students, in school districts big and small, rely on the free or discounted meals they eat at school.”

In addition, millions of parents rely on schools to care for their children while they are at work. Closed schools mean some people will lose wages by missing work.

In planning for COVID-19, we urge school officials to work with other agencies and organizations in efforts to minimize problems related to closures. School closures should be a last resort, but when they occur, our communities must be prepared to deal with the fallout and keep our children and families safe.

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