Nearly a year after COVID, many of our kids remain at home with no other option but virtual school and the consequences are staggering.Over the course of the last year, children needing mental health counseling jumped dramatically, with emergency rooms seeing a 24% increase in mental health-related visits from children ages 5 to 11 compared to last year. The increase among teens is even higher, reaching a staggering 31%. Adolescent suicides are up and an estimated 17 million kids – many of whom are reliant on subsidized school lunches – are at risk of going hungry. The science is clear: We need schools open, and we need them open now. Meanwhile, academic success has dropped dramatically. In some parts of the country, failing rates have risen as much as sixfold, with Black and Hispanic students most affected. Thousands of students have completely vanished from the education system altogether.