By Anna North, Vox, July 16, 2020
The nation’s largest school district, New York City, said last week that students will be physically in classrooms only part time at the most in the fall. The nation’s second-largest, Los Angeles, announced Monday that it will be remote only. Meanwhile, day care centers around the country are closing their doors, unable to balance the higher operating costs and reduced enrollment that came with the coronavirus pandemic.
Experts have been warning for months that this pandemic would cause an unprecedented child care crisis in the United States, a country whose system for caring for children was already severely lacking before the public health emergency began. But policymakers devoted little attention to the problem, and for months this spring, parents were left to figure out, largely on their own, how to do their jobs with schools and day cares closed.
As summer lurches toward fall, many families have reached the breaking point. And for single parents, especially those working low-wage jobs, the consequences of an ongoing lack of child care could be devastating. Yet the United States has not done the work of viral suppression necessary to safely open schools and child care centers in many parts of the country. In some cases, restaurants and bars have been prioritized over schools. The idea, it seems, is to swiftly get people back to work and boost economic growth above all else.