The April 3 Metro article “Charter schools consider applying for federal loans” reported that D.C. public charter schools may ask for federal funds to partially offset “incurred unexpected and hefty costs during the school closures” required by the coronavirus crisis.

The Cares Act includes aid for nonprofits and small businesses. D.C. charters, which educate nearly half of all D.C. public school students, are nonprofits by law and have had to invest in essential laptops, wireless access devices, groceries and home-schooling supplies for the extended school closures. Charters also fear layoffs as city funds and independent donations are hit by the public health emergency and related economic downturn.

This pandemic has exacerbated inequities that have existed in the District for decades and will hit the most vulnerable children particularly hard. Far too many public school students, especially the approximately half identified as at-risk, lack access to reliable Internet, media that can be used for distance learning, a safe and affordable place to live, regular nutritious meals and adequate health care. Charters have allocated scarce resources to fill these gaps, making for new and unanticipated expenditures, while receiving fewer city dollars per student than the traditional school system.

Nonprofits are included in the federal legislation and, if a public charter school qualifies and needs funds to provide essential services, it would be failing its students if it didn’t apply for relief to alleviate the costs involved. This is surely why D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) supports “schools using all legally available tools” to help them.

Anne Herr, Washington

The writer is interim co-executive director of Friends of Choice in Urban Schools.