Re: “Schools or bars? Opening classrooms may mean hard choices” [July 8, Nation]:

A choice between schools or bars shouldn’t be hard at all. Spring’s distance-learning experiment revealed tremendous inequity in access, resulting in a huge learning gap between the haves and have-nots. Students suffered without nutritional and counseling services, and parents struggled to work while caring for children. We cannot consider a year of hybrid learning “good enough.” Students who want to return to the classroom full time deserve that opportunity as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The solution is simple: Educators are essential workers and deserve appropriate tools to do their jobs. Get them properly fitted N95 masks. Get schools the sanitizing supplies, and additional nurses and custodians they need. Educators at high risk from COVID-19 could teach online for students who choose to remain at home.

According to the Washington Education Association, “safety for students, teachers and staff is the key to reopening schools,” and it will cost money to keep them safe. Yet the president threatens to withhold federal funding from our schools while Congress gifted $25 billion to passenger airlines. We must demand the same, or more, for our children. After all, airplanes or students shouldn’t be a hard choice either.

Tiffany Sparks-Keeney, Ed.D., Bellevue