By mid-March, coronavirus response efforts were underway worldwide. President Trump had declared a national emergency. France was in lockdown. And Japanese public schools were closed.
But schools on American military bases in Japan planned to remain open, much to the dismay of nervous parents. Then the news appeared in Stars and Stripes, the Pentagon-subsidized but editorially independent newspaper that covers the U.S. armed forces at home and abroad. “School is such an easy place for viruses and germs to spread,” one Navy spouse fretted to the publication, “and it seems like too much of a risk.” A day later, closures were announced.