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Virus briefing: Back to school, or not? Parents face hard choice
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Virus briefing: Back to school, or not? Parents face hard choice

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As the academic year begins in many places across the country, parents are faced with the difficult choice of whether to send their children to school or keep them home for remote learning because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many are unhappy with either option.

Offering parents choices eases some of the problems facing schools. If some students stay home, that creates more space in buildings and on buses.

But the number of families with a choice has dwindled as the virus's spread has prompted school districts to scrap in-person classes — at least to start the academic year — in cities including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, as well as parts of the South and Midwest where school is starting this week.

Many districts that don't begin instruction until after Labor Day are warily tracking the virus — and weighing concerns of educators and parents — as they consider plans including hybrid approaches, with in-person learning at least a few days a week.

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