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.

A Reporter’s Guide to Covering Hybrid Teaching & Learning
Webinar

A Reporter’s Guide to Covering Hybrid Teaching & Learning

As the pandemic-driven disruption to education persists, many schools across the country are or soon will be providing hybrid instruction — a combination of in-person and remote classes. Sometimes, the same teacher even delivers both modes simultaneously.

Hybrid learning can be the best of both worlds or the worst of both worlds, said Bree Dusseault, the practitioner-in-residence at the Center on Reinventing Public Education. 

image of male student by Kate Flock for Hechinger Report
EWA Radio

Why More Men Are Missing Out on College
The decline in student enrollment during the coronavirus pandemic is seven times as steep for men as women, raising questions about the long-term impact on individuals and communities (EWA Radio Episode 261)

COVID-19 is remaking the college landscape, especially when it comes to who’s pursuing –  and who’s pausing – on higher education. New data shows the decline in enrollment is seven times as large for men as for women. 

EWA 74th National Seminar  graphic
Seminar

74th EWA National Seminar
Virtual, May 2-5, 2021

The Education Writers Association’s 74th National Seminar will focus on the theme of “Now What? Reporting on Education Amid Uncertainty.” Four afternoons of conversations, training and presentations will give attendees deeper understanding of these crises, as well as tools, skills and context to help them better serve their communities — and advance their careers. 

To be held May 2-5, 2021, the seminar will feature education newsmakers, including leaders, policy makers, researchers, practitioners and journalists. And it will offer practical data and other skills training. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How COVID-19 Is Crushing Colleges’ Budgets
Experts offer story ideas on inequities, budget squeezes and college closures.

The COVID-19 pandemic “is the most significant crisis (higher education) has faced, even going back to the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, and the Vietnam War protests,” said Carlos Santiago, the Massachusetts commissioner of higher education and a 40-year veteran of the sector.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Investigative Reporters: What to Do When The Story Changes
Three strategies for piloting journalistic projects through news and change.

It’s hard enough these days for journalists to get the time, resources and editorial support they need to pursue ambitious projects. So when the story changes, or news, of, say, a pandemic breaks, reporters may fear that their story and hard work will be abandoned.  

But reporters who build good rapport with their editors, stay organized, and work out ways to incorporate new developments into their stories can save and even elevate their projects, according to teams of journalists from The Washington Post and APM Reports.

EWA Radio

Who’s Tracking Student Learning Loss?
In Washington, a lack of data could hurt schools looking to help student catch up (EWA Radio Episode 260)

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, states are largely leaving it up to individual districts to decide how to track how much — or little — of the standard school curriculum are K-12 students learning during the pandemic. One reporter surveyed her state and discovered that many communities aren’t even trying to find out. Joy Resmovits of The Seattle Times offers insights, tips, and questions to ask of state and local education officials when looking at student learning loss amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

How Will Your Community Benefit From the New $81 Billion in Pandemic Relief for Education?
Webinar

How Will Your Community Benefit From the New $81 Billion in Pandemic Relief for Education?
Experts explain ins and outs of new aid flowing to schools and universities, and how to track it

More than $81 billion in new stimulus aid is coming to schools and universities as part of the new federal COVID relief measure. Get a quick introduction to tracking the money that will flow to the schools you cover in this EWA webinar.

Two policy experts explain:

Blog: The Educated Reporter

EWA Radio: Your Top 10 of ‘20 Holiday Playlist
From COVID-19 coverage to the politics of textbooks, catch up with the top podcast episodes of the year

While most of us won’t be traveling far this holiday season, we still need those essential holiday playlists. Catch up with the most popular episodes this year of the EWA Radio podcast, which features journalists discussing the backstories to their best education reporting. (It’s also a good time to subscribe, so you don’t miss any new episodes in ‘21!)

What Education Reporters Need to Know About the Science of COVID-19
Webinar

What Education Reporters Need to Know About the Science of COVID-19

As scientific understanding of the novel coronavirus continues to evolve, states, school systems, and higher education institutions must weigh what is known — and unknown  — about the risks to guide decision-making. What’s the appropriate threshold to reopen or close schools? What safety precautions are most important on campuses? The list of questions goes on. 

Latest News

How Germany Avoided A ‘Lost’ School Year

“Every day is new, and every day is different,” the children sing. But one thing that’s changed little for them this year - their daily presence in a classroom. Germany’s quick response to the pandemic in the spring allowed it to get some children back in schools after just a few weeks. And schools have remained open this fall, even as the country shut restaurants and gyms back down.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Nov. 27-Dec. 3)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week:

With an in-depth portrait of one second grader, The Washington Post’s Perry Stein looks at the high toll the pandemic is taking on students’ basic literacy skills in D.C. 

Writing for Chalkbeat, Jason Gonzales digs into whether the University of Colorado Boulder is meeting its mission to serve students from low-income families.  

screenshot of cryptolocker ransomware on computer screen
EWA Radio

When Schools Get Hacked
In the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable K-12 and college systems are increasingly paying millions to unlock hijacked computer networks from hackers.
(EWA Radio: Episode 255)

Across the country, increasingly aggressive hackers are breaking into school computer systems and holding sensitive student information for ransom.  Education leaders often quietly pay big bucks to regain control of their networks.

Get Embargoed Access to Learning Loss Report
Webinar

Get Embargoed Access to Learning Loss Report

How much are students really learning during the pandemic?  

Get insight from one of the first national efforts to answer that question in this Education Writers Association’s webinar. Journalist attendees get embargoed access to the reading and math test results from the nearly 4.4 million U.S. students in grades 3-8 who took NWEA’s MAP® Growth™ assessments earlier this fall. 

photo of band instuments
EWA Radio

No Sports. No Band. No Fun. (And Less Learning?)
With COVID-19 curtailing extracurriculars like sports, fine arts, and special-interest clubs, student engagement suffers at all grade levels, experts say
(EWA Radio: Episode 254)

From basketball to band, debate club to dance teams, the coronavirus pandemic has curtailed extracurricular activities for many of the nation’s K-12 students. That could have a long-term impact on student enthusiasm for school overall, experts warn. Longtime education journalist Greg Toppo, writing for The 74, looks at how educators are working to keep kids connected to school, and the research showing a strong link between extracurricular participation and academic achievement.

image of lab testing equipment
EWA Radio

Science! (in Education Reporting)
From vetting studies to connecting with experts, tips on smart coverage of COVID-19 and public schools
(EWA Radio: Episode 253)

How can education reporters do a better job of incorporating science into their coverage of students and schools, especially as the evolving research around COVID-19 dominates discussions about how and when to reopen campuses? What’s known about the relative health risks to students and staff, and what are some examples of responsible coverage of this ongoing debate?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Top Biden Aide Talks Reopening Schools, Education Funding, Charters and More
Provides on-the-record comments in pre-election webinar

President-elect Joe Biden has a far-reaching education agenda that begins with actions to help schools reopen for in-person instruction, as well as plans to reverse key Trump administrative actions and more.

In a recent, on-the-record webinar, the Biden campaign’s national policy director, Stef Feldman, fielded questions from the Education Writers Association and its members around the country.

photo of Elissa Nadworny on location
EWA Radio

COVID-19 College
NPR's Elissa Nadworny hits the road to document how colleges and universities are adapting in coronavirus pandemic era
(EWA Radio: Episode 250)

Who takes a cross-country reporting road trip in the midst of a pandemic? NPR’s Elissa Nadworny decided it was the only way to find out for herself what life is really like on college campuses these days, and how students, faculty and administrators are dealing with a new world of logistical challenges.

After Election Day, What’s Next for Education?
Webinar

After Election Day, What’s Next for Education?

What will President-elect Joe Biden’s victory mean for education? How does the uncertainty in political control of the Senate complicate matters? What actions can the Biden administration accomplish through executive action?

Get early indications of likely actions on issues including emergency aid for schools and colleges, civil rights enforcement, Title IX, student loans, and more during this Education Writers Association Webinar.