The coronavirus has caused incalculable harm to millions of people. Two million people have been infected. More than 100,000 have died. The death toll increases daily. The scientific response to the pandemic—close down the economy—caused additional harm, with most economic activity halted, millions of people out of work, businesses Closed, livelihoods lost. The economic shutdown caused a dramatic decline in state revenues, which means less funding for schools. As schools plan to reopen, classes must be smaller, more nurses and healthcare workers are needed, and costs will rise, to keep students and staff safe.

How can schools cut costs while costs are rising? They can’t.

Three scholars—Bruce D. Baker, Mark Weber, and Drew Aitchinson—propose four specific steps that are needed to enable schools to weather the collapse of state revenues due to the global pandemic.

The first of these is a federal aid package. Without federal aid, schools cannot reopen safely, cannot reduce class sizes, and cannot provide the care that students and staff need.

Congress will have to decide whether it is willing to invest in the nation’s children and their teachers. And in our shared future.