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.

Outlets including Education Week, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed are tracking the rapidly increasing closures of K-12 schools and colleges and universities. 

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.

Outlets including Education Week, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed are tracking the rapidly increasing closures of K-12 schools and colleges and universities. 

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.

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Status of School and University Closures

Updated March 20

Forty-five states have decided to close schools in response to the new coronavirus pandemic, Education Week reports. The newspaper says at least at least 118,000 public and private schools are closed, are scheduled to close, or were closed and later reopened, affecting at least 53.7 million students.

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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.

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Advocates Demand Illinois Release Youth From Juvenile Detention Centers Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Advocates and correctional officials are calling on Illinois and other states across the country to release youth from juvenile detention facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There are currently about 200 youth incarcerated in Illinois’ juvenile detention facilities. A recent report from the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University found that more than 90% of incarcerated youth have at least one mental health disorder diagnosis, and about two-thirds have multiple diagnoses.

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Thousands of Liberty Students Expected To Return to Campus Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

LYNCHBURG — As the coronavirus threatens to spread across the Lynchburg region, Liberty University officials are preparing to welcome back up to 5,000 students from spring break this week.

Defying a national trend of campus closures, President Jerry Falwell Jr. has invited students to return to residence halls and has directed faculty members to continue to report to campus even as most classes move online.

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Texas Day Cares Are Closing Just When Some Parents Need Them More Than Ever

Heather Martinez now takes every child’s temperature at the door to Happy Octopus Early Education, the day care she runs from her home in Corpus Christi, following a new state regulation for child care centers issued as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across Texas.

She disinfects tables, sanitizes toys and requires parents to stand outside the door at pick up and drop off each day. But she worries the new rules are not enough to keep everyone healthy: It’s hard to stop infants from putting toys in their mouths, let alone expect them to stay six feet away from one another.

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High Schoolers Will Take Their AP Exams at Home, College Board Says

The thousands of Florida teens who planned to spend hours this spring in school testing centers trying to earn college credits on Advanced Placement exams will be taking the tests at home instead.

In response to social distancing efforts under way nationally to slow the spread of COVID-19, test administrator College Board announced Friday it would provide shortened 45-minute AP exams. They will be based on curriculum truncated to better reflect what classes already have covered.

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Help! I Don’t Know How to Be a Teacher! Home-schooling Parents, Teacher Trainers Offer Advice During Coronavirus Shutdown

Parents across Ohio had a surprising new role thrust upon them this week: teaching their children.

With Ohio’s schools shut down, possibly for the school year, because of coronavirus concerns, parents now have to make sure their children learn the lessons their schools send home or post online.

The Plain Dealer asked two groups of people for advice for parents’ new role: Home-schoolers, who teach their children at home every day, and professors at teaching colleges, the people who teach teachers how to teach.

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Redesigning College Admission: COVID-19, Access, And Equity

The spread of COVID-19 throughout the world is evidence that the virus does not discriminate. It has infected individuals from all nations, backgrounds, ages, races, genders, and economic status. However, the impact of the virus is—and will be—felt very differently by various populations. The most vulnerable people in our society are likely to disproportionately suffer from the health and economic implications of this crisis.

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Memphis School District Suspends Food Distribution After Employee Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Shelby County Schools on Friday suspended its meal distribution program for students after an employee in its nutrition department tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Tennessee’s largest district serves 113,000 students, most of whom are low income, and had been ramping up to begin serving 15,000 meals a day beginning Monday. Due to the spread of COVID-19, schools that already were on spring break are closed through at least April 3.

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When Schools Shut Down, We All Lose

This was the week that American schools across the country closed their doors.

It was the week that our public schools—often dismissed as mediocre, inequitable, or bureaucratic—showed just how much they mean to American society by their very absence.

The unprecedented shutdown public and private schools in dozens of states last week has illuminated one easily forgotten truism about schools: They are an absolute necessity for the functioning of civic culture, and even more fundamentally than that, daily life.

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Districts Search For School Lunch Solutions Amid Coronavirus Closures

Nearly 30 million children in the U.S. count on schools for free or low-cost breakfast, lunch, snacks and sometimes dinner — but most of those children are now at home. At least 114,000 public and private schools have been closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, affecting the vast majority of the nation’s K-12 students, according to an ongoing tally by Education Week.

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Child Care Providers Are Feeling An Unprecedented Squeeze. Now, They’re Asking For Help.

Many child care providers won’t survive the coronavirus outbreak, a coalition of state groups warned Thursday, as they pushed lawmakers to offer financial relief for day cares and early learning centers.

“Child care providers are already operating on very small margins,” the groups wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders, calling for child care providers to be considered in any economic stimulus package.

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Canceled Research, Sports, Recitals — College Students Are Coping With More Than Closed Campuses

Moving his education online because of the coronavirus presents a much bigger problem for Cameron Pelton than it does for many of his Indiana University classmates.

Pelton is studying ballet and choreography, subjects that don’t convert easily to virtual instruction. Meanwhile, auditions have been canceled and seniors who were hoping to land jobs with ballet companies have had those aspirations delayed.

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MN’s Schools Closed For Learning, But Open For Emergency Personnel Child Care, Planning

Last Friday, Gov. Tim Walz told schools to keep their doors open. He said they were needed to care for the children of people who worked in health care.

Two days later the plan changed.

“We have thought this through and I will be willing to say at this time that we have the most comprehensive plan for what school closing looks like of any state in the nation,” Walz said.

Minnesota’s plan means canceling classes for a week and a half to give teachers and district leaders the time to prepare for distance learning.

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Student on CMS Board Emerges as Star in Emergency COVID-19 Meeting

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board’s student representative is getting a lot of public love after he grilled the adults in the room at an emergency board meeting this week.

Monday’s session may have been a preview of life in the age of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. For starters, it was called with only a few hours notice to vote on changes forced by the virus.

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Amid shutdown, Boston Public Schools, Union Negotiate Over Online Learning

Boston school officials and the city teachers union have yet to come to agreement on how to conduct online learning during the six-week shutdown of the school system, even as school staffers have been delivering 20,000 Chromebook computers to students with much fanfare.

Talks over online learning just began on Thursday — albeit virtually instead of in person — and are expected to resume Friday, according to the Boston teachers union, which provided members an update Thursday night.

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‘You Just Want Answers’: High School Seniors Left Wondering on Prom, Graduation, College

Will Anderson wants answers.

Are his Omaha Central High School classmates doing all right? “You just want answers to all these questions you have,” Anderson said. “But no one has any answers.”

Will graduation ceremonies be held on time or at all? Is prom canceled? Will this affect his plans for college?

Five high school seniors from public and private districts around the metro area said they wonder if they have had their last day of high school.