Coronavirus and Education
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.
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.
Who’s Watching the Kids?
A community's struggle to address child care crisis amid COVID-19
(EWA Radio: Episode 247)
The coronavirus pandemic has forced most child care centers to close in an upstate New York community where affordable options for families were already in short supply.
A year ago, when Bianca Argueta was beginning her senior year at Richmond Hill High, she felt pretty excited about what the fall of 2020 might hold for her. Richmond Hill is a big, old-fashioned public high school in central Queens, the alma mater of Rodney Dangerfield and Phil Rizzuto, and Bianca was a top student there, full of ambition, part of the leadership club, taking A.P. classes.
The Pandemic Is Taking a Toll on the Child Care System. Here’s What Analysts Say Is Needed to ‘Rebuild’
About half of all child care centers are expected to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and their meager share of federal relief funds cannot begin to address the crisis in an industry that serves an essential role in both early education and the economy, experts said during a recent panel hosted by the Education Writers Association.
Many education journalists covering the pandemic’s impacts on children and families are diving into the early learning and child care beat for the first time, given the massive disruption to this sector in communities nationwide. EWA is here to help!
Effectively covering the early learning and care sector requires understanding the complex world of child care policy and funding, including a dizzying array of federal and state programs, as well as costs, subsidies, reimbursements, eligibility, and tax credits.
Education Surges to Top Tier of Presidential Race Amid Pandemic
Journalists offer insights, story ideas on covering the schools angle
Education is not typically an issue that comes to the forefront in presidential races.
But months of an ongoing coronavirus pandemic have elevated conversations about how schools and elected officials are tackling the issue. In fact, education took a front seat in high-stakes negotiations this summer over a federal stimulus bill that has stalled.
How the Pandemic Is Changing the World of College Admissions
Journalists should examine access, enrollment uncertainty
Hundreds of colleges are going test-optional. Fewer students are filling out financial-aid forms. Everyone is staring down unknowns.
The field of admissions has been turned upside down, Eric Hoover, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, said as he kicked off a panel about college admissions and enrollment at the Education Writers Association’s 2020 National Seminar.
How Is COVID-19 Impacting the Teacher Workforce?
Economic pressures, educator diversity, and rethinking professional development
The coronavirus pandemic is creating huge challenges for the teacher workforce — layoffs, pay cuts, fear of COVID-19 exposure among those returning to bricks-and-mortar classrooms, to name a few. At the same time, analysts and teacher advocates also see a unique opportunity to innovate and rethink traditional practices.
Why It’s So Hard to Report on Schools While Home-Schooling During a Pandemic
One journalist shares her struggle to report while guiding her son with autism through school
With a college kid rooting around the fridge for yet another meal, a husband conducting loud Zoom meetings about two feet from my desk, and a teen with autism freaking out from a lack of structure, 2020 is not shaping up to be a banner year for productivity as a freelance education writer.
How Higher Ed Rushed Online — and What Colleges Have Learned Since
Hoping fully remote learning isn't the future, professors and students get creative for now
Like college professors all over the country, Angela Echeverri had never taught completely online before — until this past spring.
As a science professor at Los Angeles Mission College, Echeverri and her colleagues had two weeks to transition thousands of courses to an online format.
“The amount of work was absolutely brutal. It required a huge amount of work over those two weeks,” Echeverri said during a higher education panel at EWA’s virtual seminar earlier this month.
Back-to-School: The Coronavirus Edition
Top reporters share tips for covering remote learning, inequities on the K-12 and higher ed beats in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic
(EWA Radio: Episode 244)
It’s a new academic year like no other on the K-12 and higher education beats. A pair of veteran education journalists share tips and insights for what’s ahead this fall and beyond.
Data Tool Spotlights Gaps in Home Internet Access for Local Communities
Get training to use reporter-friendly database
With millions of U.S. students continuing to learn remotely this fall, education reporters need reliable information on broadband internet access in homes to cover the story and shine a spotlight on the digital divides within and across communities.
Schools Brace for Mental Health Challenges During COVID-19 and Civil Unrest
Experts discuss trauma, social and emotional development
As schools nationwide gear up for a new school year during the pandemic — whether virtually or in person — meeting the social, emotional and mental health needs of students and staff will be a huge challenge and priority for school systems.
Educators and counselors said stories are waiting to be told at every level of education as the combination of pandemic fears and racial injustice puts added pressures on students and teachers.
Schools Experiment to Allay the Inequitable Impact of COVID-19
Pandemic sparks calls for changes to technology, curriculum and funding.
In an effort to counteract the way COVID-19 is worsening many educational inequities, government and educational leaders around the country are trying a variety of interventions such as free headphones, traffic light Wi-Fi, and more explicit teaching about the realities of race relations.
Jeb Bush Says ‘Classic Conservatives’ Want More Educational Funding, Local Control and Parent Choice
Former Florida governor supports taxpayer vouchers, including for private schools with rules against hiring LGBTQ staff
Cable TV shouting heads can make it seem as if party politics — more than research — guides stances on how education leaders should respond to COVID-19. But in a conversation with education journalists, one prominent Republican outlined potential divisions among those who identify as conservatives.
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate, called for additional federal funding to help schools during the public health crisis and to address historical inequities affecting low-income students.
The Education Writers Association will hold its 2020 fall Higher Education Seminar on September 15-16 on the theme of “Racial Reckonings Amid COVID, Recession and Political Conflict.”
The pandemic has made stark the glaring worldwide inequities in access to education. Many now-shuttered schools in marginalized communities haven’t been able to provide their students with any meaningful instruction at all. Those in wealthier communities are offering online classes of varying quality. And a growing number of the rich are setting up small private “pods” or mini-schools to ensure their kids get in-person tutoring.
In theory, Boise School District students could be returning to in-person classes in September. But Elizabeth Barrios’ two sons won’t be there. Her sons, who attend Whitney Elementary and South Junior High, desperately want to go back.
But Barrios decided they’ll be enrolled online until at least January. “It’s not the same, but I’d prefer to do that rather than go back to school (in-person),” Barrios said. “They’re kids. And kids aren’t going to be careful.”
Young Activists Offer Tips, Share Hesitations on Working With Journalists
'Amplify their voices,' and remember this may be their first media experience
When high schoolers Eric Luo and Zoe Monterola saw how inaccessible grocery delivery services were for at-risk populations in their hometown of Santa Clarita, California, they knew something needed to be done.
“Seeing people pay hundreds of dollars just so people can grocery shop for them … these issues affect us. That’s something that we can change,” Zoe said.
The Scramble for Effective Special Education in a Pandemic
Virtual learning often doesn't work for students with disabilities, experts say
The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has created reopening challenges for schools across the nation, but those challenges are magnified for the seven million students with disabilities whose educational plans and therapies often rely on the structure of a classroom setting and face-to-face services and lessons.
What Will ‘Back to Campus’ Mean? Analyzing Universities’ Plans for Reopening This Fall
While many schools are online-only, those returning in person get tough
Want to return to a college campus this fall? You’ll have to strictly follow tough rules. Fail to wear a mask or follow other strict safety requirements at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., and “you will be excised from the community. You will be voted off the island,” warned President Roslyn Artis.