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US inequalities spark school reopening battles

The issue of reopening schools during the pandemic in the US has become intertwined with the increasing gap between their rich and poor.

With a major teachers’ strike looming Chicago has become the key battleground in the reopening of schools amid America’s struggles handling the coronavirus. The root issue is not racial disparities or even health safety but how the pandemic keeps worsening long standing economic inequalities between the rich and poor classes.

In the decentralized United States system funding for schools comes mainly from local taxes. While schools in wealthy neighborhoods have plenty of resources for hand sanitizers and masks, schools in poor areas are being asked to cope with pandemic-related costs despite decades of non-investment.

This year child care costs have soared a back-breaking 60%. The US has such a small social safety net that households with children usually require two working parents to survive economically, so reopening schools is a financial imperative for many.