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

States All Over the Map on Remote Learning Rigor, Detail

Two months after schools across the country began to shut down in-person instruction in response to the coronavirus pandemic, almost every state has directed its schools to provide some kind of remote instruction, and asked millions of students to engage in distance learning. But how much instruction are states recommending, and in what form?

Latest News

High School Seniors Protest Plan For Large Graduation Ceremonies in Alabama Next Week

Jeanarry Hernandez, one of 17 valedictorians in the senior class at Hoover High, says she will sit out her own graduation ceremony, a gathering of 650 seniors now planned for next week.

The seniors are heading to the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on May 21, and each can invite four family members to watch. The crowd will be asked to maintain distance. And every senior will be issued a mask.

Latest News

Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Revision Cuts Programs to Recruit, Train Teachers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s biggest education priority in his proposed state budget — $915 million to recruit and train teachers — was eliminated in his May budget revision released Thursday.

The proposed funds are more than the amount spent for teacher development in the five previous years combined, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Latest News

How Three Mothers of Students With Special Needs are Getting Through the Pandemic

In one household, a mother has taken on the role of three adults to meet the emotional, educational and physical needs of her partially paralyzed teenage daughter. 

Across town, a mom facing homelessness has turned a hotel room into a home and school for her family of five, and a son with ADHD. 

In another home, a mother of a son with Autism is watching their relationship change as she takes on the role of educator and therapist.

Report

As the School Year Ends, Work Remains for Education Reporters

As the academic year comes to a close in communities across the country, the work for education reporters is only ramping up. 

The work ahead will include finding students and their families willing to share how remote learning has affected them — and who has been left behind, says Shelly Conlon, who covers education in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Conlon’s investigative reporting for The Argus Leader last year prompted legislation that aims to change how the state educates deaf and hard of hearing children. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Testing COVID-19’s Academic Impact on Students
Early assessments seen as key to gauging learning gaps, social-emotional needs

When schools reopen, expect to see a lot of testing.

Sure, COVID-19 testing may be prevalent for students and their teachers. But in addition, a first step for many schools will be diagnostic tests to gauge learning gaps after months away. Some experts also are calling for assessments of students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs as they start the new academic year.

Latest News

Betsy DeVos’s Handling of Higher Ed Relief Money Draws Criticism

When the novel coronavirus forced colleges and universities to abruptly send students and faculty home for the semester, vulnerable students scrambled to continue their studies amid financial stress, and schools reeled from housing refunds and other lost revenue.

Enter Congress with a $14 billion lifeline.

Schools, anticipating a deepening economic crisis, had lobbied for more, but they still welcomed the support. And they hoped for swift and clear guidance from the Education Department, which Congress tasked with dispensing funding as quickly as possible.

Webinar

Express Webinar: Meet Editors Buying Freelance Education Stories
Editors explain how to pitch and what to expect

Journalist members of the Education Writers Association will have an exclusive opportunity to get advice from two editors who are buying education stories from freelancers at 2:30 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, May 19.

Editors at The Hechinger Report and Money will explain how to get your pitches heard by their staffs, what they want from freelance writers, and how much they pay.

Latest News

How the Pandemic Has Transformed the College Experience and Could Transform It Even More

Colleges change with the times. New Jersey’s colonial theological seminaries are today’s leading research universities; its teacher training colleges expanded to liberal arts; and an education once reserved for white wealthy males is now open to all.

Higher education is on the cusp of another transformation, but not for occupational or societal reasons: the drivers this time are a coronavirus pandemic that sent students home for virtual learning and a gutted economy some fear might keep them there.

Latest News

Education Department’s New $120 Million In Grants For Short-Term Career Programs

While emergency grants for colleges and their students from the CARES Act have gotten much attention in the past few weeks, that funding isn’t the only stream of new federal money headed for higher education.

The U.S. Department of Education also is planning to distribute $127.5 million as part of its Reimagining Workforce Preparation grant program. But the department so far has released scant information about what sort of programs the grants should be used to fund, and through what sort of institutions.

Latest News

School Meal Programs Seek Relief, Plan For Uncertain Summer

School districts are distributing millions of meals for students per week — primarily through grab-and-go sites and school bus deliveries — but nutrition experts are shifting their focus toward how to keep feeding students over the summer.

Read the full story here.

Tip Sheet

EWA Tip Sheet: Reporting on Colleges’ Finances Amid Coronavirus

This post was originally published on Journalist’s Resource. It has been republished here with permission of the author. 

Colleges across the country face deep financial losses after the coronavirus forced school officials to shutter campuses and cancel events. Administrators worry their money troubles will only get worse if enrollment, government funding and other sources of revenue continue to fall amid a likely recession.

Latest News

Recruitment Opportunities Dry Up, Teachers Back Out As Districts Look to Hire for Fall

Lisa Parady is the executive director of the Alaska Council of School Administrators. She said she’s heard similar struggles and challenges around unfilled positions from administrators all over the state including Chugach, Alaska Gateway and Haines school districts.  

Schools were struggling with teacher, principal and superintendent turnover even before the pandemic, Parady said. 

EWA Radio

Do Students Have a Right to Literacy?
Landmark court decision finds access to adequate educational services is a “basic right”
(EWA Radio: Episode 237)

A federal appeals court recently ruled that the state of Michigan has failed  to make sure children in Detroit are adequately educated. The April decision said the city’s schools have suffered from underfunding, poorly maintained facilities and too few qualified teachers. While the state is contemplating an appeal, the decision is still considered a landmark for civil rights advocates mounting similar challenges in state courts across the country.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Will Coronavirus Be a Tipping Point That Ends Annual Testing in Schools?
Every state received a waiver of federal testing rules for 2019-20. What about next year and beyond?

The cancellation of statewide testing for millions of students this spring was no surprise, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s raising a larger question — whether the era of annual assessments in reading and mathematics, as required under federal law, will soon end.