What the fall holds for students, families and communities is deeply uncertain. It is hard to know how young people in K-12 will keep their distance as class sizes have increased, cafeterias serve meals in enclosed spaces and those big yellow buses take kids to school and back home again. Children are no fans of rule enforcement, of keeping social distance or masks.

What happens if we see a spike of COVID cases? Schools must again pivot to online instruction. At the time of this writing, more than four million Americans have tested positive for the virus. A second-wave shutdown could bring more unemployment, more evictions. The misery index in both causes and symptoms could rise with more substance abuse, anger and instability in homes, and the risk of homelessness and hunger.

S. E. Gilman is an educator who lives in Monroe Township.

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