Coronavirus and Education

Overview

Coronavirus and Education
How schools and colleges are responding to COVID-19

The rapid spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — which the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic — has big implications for P-12 and higher education in the United States. Education journalists around the country are playing a vital role in helping communities understand the situation, from school closures to plans for remote learning and making sure high-need students maintain access to wraparound services like health care and meals.

Education Week is tracking state-level K-12 school closures, which includes the closure of both the buildings and in-person instruction. 

While the response to the health crisis is fluid, it’s clear that educators will have to rethink teaching methods. Challenges include adopting new methods of digital learning and instruction if bricks-and-mortar classrooms remain closed for an extended period, as well as helping families struggling with child care issues or mandated quarantines.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — which the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic — has big implications for P-12 and higher education in the United States. Education journalists around the country are playing a vital role in helping communities understand the situation, from school closures to plans for remote learning and making sure high-need students maintain access to wraparound services like health care and meals.

Education Week is tracking state-level K-12 school closures, which includes the closure of both the buildings and in-person instruction. 

While the response to the health crisis is fluid, it’s clear that educators will have to rethink teaching methods. Challenges include adopting new methods of digital learning and instruction if bricks-and-mortar classrooms remain closed for an extended period, as well as helping families struggling with child care issues or mandated quarantines.

Highlight

Word on the Beat: Remote Learning

As communities nationwide grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, educators are struggling to provide young people with meaningful opportunities to continue learning even with most public schools now closed. In this installment of Word on the Beat, we look at how digital tools are being put into quick action for K-12 education — and how that’s creating both opportunities and challenges for teachers, students, and families.

Highlight

Five Tips for Education Reporters Covering the Coronavirus

Keep Calm and Report On

In any health crisis, the news media is a critical source of information for the public. Education reporters can, and should, play a key role in their newsroom coverage, given that schools are a significant factor in efforts to contain and limit the existing outbreak of the coronavirus.

Latest News

In Chicago’s Poorest High Schools, 20% Of Grades Were Fs

At the height of the pandemic, even when her school discouraged it, Chicago public high school teacher Anna Lane traveled to her students’ homes to stand on porches and listen to their struggles. Using money she helped raise through a mutual aid fund, she often brought groceries or cash assistance so their families could pay their bills.

Latest News

Pandemic Saps College Enrollment, Counselors Fight Back

Thousands of California high school graduates didn’t go to college last year due to the pandemic. The drop, which mostly affected community colleges, might be temporary, but it showed the need to provide more support for students going from high school to college. A new counseling program in Riverside County aims to do just that.

Read the full story here. 

Latest News

Pandemic Saps College Enrollment, Counselors Fight Back

Thousands of California high school graduates didn’t go to college last year due to the pandemic. The drop, which mostly affected community colleges, might be temporary, but it showed the need to provide more support for students going from high school to college. A new counseling program in Riverside County aims to do just that.

Read the full story here. 

Latest News

Pandemic Saps College Enrollment, Counselors Fight Back

Thousands of California high school graduates didn’t go to college last year due to the pandemic. The drop, which mostly affected community colleges, might be temporary, but it showed the need to provide more support for students going from high school to college. A new counseling program in Riverside County aims to do just that.

Read the full story here. 

Latest News

Virtual Learning Ending For Some Schools Across The Us, Increasing For Others

Deanna Nye is not ready to send her children back into classrooms come fall, even though she knows the worst of the pandemic may be over. Her 8-year-old twins have medical conditions that put them at greater risk, she said, and her eldest son thrives in virtual learning.

But in New Jersey, learning remotely will no longer be an option. “All we want is the choice,” said Nye, a New Jersey mother of three who has joined with other parents to protest the state action.

Latest News

Enrollment at Local Catholic Schools Has Surged

While many parents grappled over the past year with whether to send their children to public school online or in-person, others considered a pandemic-era education imbued with religion.

One example: Inquiries, applications and transfer requests at St. Augustine High School in North Park were at an all-time high this academic year, said the school’s director of admissions, Paul Sipper.

Latest News

Indiana Sees 11% Drop In Preschoolers With Disabilities During Pandemic

The number of Indiana students enrolled in programs for disabilities declined this school year — the first dip in at least four years and the latest sign of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

The drop was especially pronounced among preschool children with special needs. About 14,000 preschoolers had diagnosed disabilities, down more than 11% — or about 1,800 students — from last year, according to an annual count of students with disabilities approved Wednesday by the Indiana State Board of Education.

Will the Pandemic Propel ‘Competency-Based’ Education Into the Mainstream?
Webinar

Will the Pandemic Propel ‘Competency-Based’ Education Into the Mainstream?
Instructional model replaces 'seat-time' requirements with focus on mastery of content, skills

The pandemic forced schools to switch from in-person to remote learning nearly overnight, raising questions about the relevance of “seat time” as a standard measure for earning course credit. Now, as schools move into education recovery mode, an alternative model known as competency-based learning is getting a fresh look and is expected to see more widespread adoption.

Latest News

Should Every Student Move Up to the Next Grade?

Many students have fallen behind this year because of remote learning and other pandemic-related disruptions, leaving districts to wrestle with the question of whether struggling students should automatically move up, or if it would be better for some of them to repeat a grade.

Participants
Multimedia

How Schools (and Reporters) Can Better Connect With Parents
'Talk to us,' parent organizers urge

The grand experiment with remote instruction in the pandemic hasn’t just impacted teachers and students. It has also changed the relationship of parents to their children’s learning, and provided a firsthand look at the virtual classroom experience.

During a May 4 session at the Education Writers Association’s 2021 National Seminar, parent advocates and researchers explored how the role of families in education may shift, and ways schools and others can support the change. 

How Schools (and Reporters) Can Better Connect With Parents

Click here to download the transcript of the 2021 family engagement session

The participants were: 

  • Sarah Carpenter, Memphis Lift
  • Keri Rodrigues, National Parents Union
  • Vidya Sundaram, Family Engagement Lab
  • Rebecca Winthrop, Center for Universal Education
  • Katherine Lewis, independent journalist (Moderator)
Are ‘Merit’-based Education Admissions Practices Racist?
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Are ‘Merit’-based Education Admissions Practices Racist?
Experts outline problems with - and efforts to improve - use of SAT scores, affirmative action, school lotteries.

It is one of the thorniest topics in education: What criteria should be used to fairly determine which students are admitted to America’s “elite” public schools, colleges and universities? 

Many top schools have faced criticism in recent decades for not reflecting the nation’s racial and socioeconomic diversity.

Latest News

Schools Look to ‘Acceleration’ to Fill Pandemic Learning Gaps

Summer school is getting an overhaul in Washington, D.C. this year.

Schools are designing programs to help students learn key concepts they missed during the pandemic, while also getting them ready for what’s coming next school year. Fourth and fifth graders may design roller coasters, while second and third graders could dive into the debate over who deserves a public monument.

Latest News

‘Learning Loss, in General, Is a Misnomer’: Study Shows Kids Made Progress During COVID-19

Even though the pandemic has interrupted learning, students are still making progress in reading and math this year, according to a new analysis from the assessment provider Renaissance.

The company looked at a large sample of students—about 3.8 million in grades 1-8—who had taken Star Assessments, which are interim tests, in either math or reading during the winter of the 2020-21 school year. (Because they were comparing these scores to fall 2019 and fall 2020, only students who had taken Star tests in each of those three periods were included in the analysis.)

Latest News

More ‘Monster Walks,’ Fewer Water Fountains: How Two Cleveland Schools Stayed Open Through the Pandemic With Few COVID Cases and More Learning Opportunities

Staff at St. Stanislaus elementary school in Cleveland have spent the school year constantly reminding students to keep masks up over noses, to keep safe distance, and sanitizing everything, including the Easter eggs given to the youngest students.

They even had students do the “monster walk” – walking between rooms with arms stretched out in front of them to create social distance, and placed jugs of water in classrooms instead of water fountains.

Latest News

COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effects on Pennsylvania’s Education System Have Yet to be Measured

More than a year into the pandemic, how students are faring, and how much they’re learning, has drawn intense attention. Billions in federal aid are coming to schools to address “learning loss” — an academic concept that has seeped into the national consciousness as educators, families, and students measure the impact of the unprecedented disruption.

Read the full story here.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Apr. 2-8)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week:

More school districts are turning to digital surveillance to keep tabs on students during remote learning. That has some families, educators, and privacy experts concerned, reports Education Week’s Stephen Sawchuk. 

Emily Tate of EdSurge explains why some guidance counselors are taking steps to address their implicit biases, and how that could improve services for students going forward. 

Latest News

COVID Lowers Number of High School Students Taking College Courses

Like many students taking college courses during the coronavirus pandemic, Alexis Lopez struggled with a poor Wi-Fi connection and professors who didn’t offer much support. 

“They couldn’t really help us. They didn’t really know what to do for us,” said Lopez, who remembers becoming so frustrated in front of her computer that she burst out crying. “We had to do everything by ourselves.”

Key Coverage

Out of School, Out of Work

In 2017, as many as 4.5 million young people—or 11.5 percent of young adults ages 16 to 24—were neither in school nor working, according to the nonprofit Measure of America. By the summer of 2020, the organization estimated, the ranks of these “disconnected” young adults had swelled to 6 million.

Read the full story here