What Next: TBD

What if They Close All the Schools?

As the coronavirus spreads across the country, many schools are considering moving their classes online. For many, that’s not a realistic option.

Illustration depicting a female with a microphone

Listen longer

Slate Plus members get ad-free versions of all Slate podcasts, plus extra segments, bonus episodes, and more. Try it today for just $1.

Join Slate Plus

Episode Notes

Last week, the superintendent of the Northshore School District near Seattle made a difficult decision. With the coronavirus spreading rapidly in the area, she closed all 34 schools in her district and moved all classes online. But for many schools, remote learning at this scale simply isn’t an option.

With new cases appearing around the country, how will schools respond? And what happens when you send millions of students home for weeks on end?


About the Show

Every Friday, Slate’s popular daily news podcast What Next brings you TBD, a clear-eyed look into the future. From fake news to fake meat, algorithms to augmented reality, Lizzie O’Leary is your guide to the tech industry and the world it’s creating for us to live in.

All episodes


  • Lizzie O’Leary is the host of What Next: TBD, Slate’s show about technology, power, and the future. Previously, she created and hosted Marketplace Weekend. She has reported for CNN, Bloomberg News, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. She is also a contributing writer at the Atlantic.