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.
Child Care for Essential Workers During the Coronavirus Pandemic? Not From Head Start.
The federal child care program is hamstrung under current law
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on April 28, 2020, based on new information provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
When the federal government announced it would distribute nearly $6.3 billion to colleges to give to students in need, the aid was met with fanfare. The Education Department said April 9 the coronavirus money was on its way.
For nearly every student, the money still hasn’t arrived.
Read the full story here.
Before the coronavirus pandemic brought in-person classes to a screeching halt, high school English teacher Jaime Whitaker often had to prod her 10th-grade students just to meet the basics.
Show up to class. Participate. Turn in your work on time.
So when her school, the Academy @ Shawnee, transitioned to remote learning earlier this month, Whitaker feared the worst. Without the structure of daily school, typical teenage apathy could morph into all-out desertion.
Instead, the opposite happened.
Get Ready for the ‘New (Ab)normal’: How Will School Look Different This Fall?
What reporters need to know about the coronavirus' impact
Staggered start times. Classroom desks spaced six feet apart. School buses running at half capacity. A blend of in-person and online learning. And LOTS of handwashing.
In January, when Larry Sampler called a meeting of area college leaders to discuss coronavirus-outbreak contingency plans for Metropolitan State University of Denver and other colleges, people thought he was overreacting. At the time, the virus was mushrooming across China, but only a handful of cases had turned up in the United States.
Read the full story here.
The job of the school counselor has evolved over the years, from academic guide to something deeper: the adult in a school tasked with fostering students’ social and emotional growth, a mental health first responder and a confidant for kids, especially teens, who often need a closed door and a sympathetic ear. But the closure of nearly all U.S. schools has forced counselors like Sabens to reimagine how they can do their jobs. And the stakes have never been higher.
As the coronavirus outbreak has rapidly remade American education, teachers’ unions are asserting the power they have amassed over the last few years, this time in response to the changing demands being placed on educators in the midst of the pandemic.
New Grants Help Journalists Through the Coronavirus Crisis
These organizations will provide money for freelance projects, help out furloughed reporters
The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented demand for high-quality news and information – and destroyed the finances of many of the news outlets that served that demand. Luckily, a growing number of organizations are attempting to provide cash to journalists who wish to continue informing their communities during this crisis.
Here’s a list of organizations offering help to journalists during the crisis:
As geysers of alarming health and economic news and rumors flood the public sphere, communication specialists struggle to disseminate clear, accurate information about important issues. They’ll also help tell communities what the safest practices are for rejoining social life as organizations roll out plans for a new normal. It’s more important than ever for people in communications roles to cut through the chaos of misinformation.
Higher Ed Goes Remote
How colleges and universities are adapting to the new realities of the coronavirus crisis
(EWA Radio: Episode 235)
With most colleges and universities forced to close campuses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, postsecondary learning has moved online for millions of students. Doug Lederman, the co-founder and editor of Inside Higher Ed, discusses the fallout of the shift and its potential long-term implications, especially for postsecondary institutions that were already in precarious financial straits.
The pandemic has forced nearly every college in the country to cancel spring classes, sent endowments plunging, and slashed state tax revenues that had been funding public universities. That triple whammy has already driven some colleges out of business altogether. Many more are likely to follow. But which ones?
In this EWA webinar, Susan Fitzgerald, who analyzes the financial strength of colleges for the Moody’s Investors Service bond rating agency, explains how even math-averse journalists can investigate the financial outlook for the colleges they cover.
BALTIMORE — On the first day of the coronavirus school closure at Sinclair Lane Elementary School, Janet Bailey, the cafeteria manager, showed up to the school’s kitchen like any other day, ready to do her job. She began fixing the favorites of the 250 or so children who relied on her to feed them daily — chicken patties, a fruit and vegetable, and flavored milk.
Graduation and many other rites of passage for this year’s seniors aren’t a given as school officials across the country are in rapid-response mode, shifting millions of students to online classes and trying to figure out what comes next.
School officials are scrambling to ensure the teens can still earn a diploma and mark the milestone in some special way even if it can’t be in person.
And students’ families and even strangers are trying to find ways to keep spirits up during these last few weeks of school.
What Khan Academy’s Founder Wants You to Know About Online Learning
Sal Khan shares insights on education during the coronavirus pandemic and the future of learning
With millions of K-12 students stuck at home during the pandemic, the nation is engaged in a massive, crisis-driven experiment in remote learning. What do education journalists need to know to better understand and report on what’s happening? To help address that question, EWA is turning to one of the pioneers in online learning — Khan Academy founder and CEO Sal Khan.
LOGUMKLOSTER, Denmark — The cluster of red brick buildings in a remote part of southern Denmark looks unremarkable from the outside, but this week, its classrooms housed some of the rarest people during the pandemic in Europe.
Governors have a lot of leeway to decide how they’ll spend the nearly $3 billion in emergency education aid that was set aside for them in the latest coronavirus stimulus package.
They can give the money to school districts, colleges, or any “education related entity” that’s providing emergency educational services, child care, social and emotional support, or is working to protect education jobs, the law says.
College Librarians Prepare For Looming Budget Cuts, And Journal Subscriptions Could Be In For A Trim
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, library budgets were hit hard.
Cuts were widespread and ran deep. Staff, collections, equipment and facilities at even the wealthiest institutions were affected.
While tough economic times call for all areas of an institution to tighten belts, libraries seemed to be particularly adversely impacted by the recession. Library budgets as a percentage of total institutional spending shrank, and in some places they never fully recovered.
Colleges Are Handing Out Billions in Coronavirus Stimulus Funding to Students. Can They Do It Fairly?
One week after the federal government announced it was “immediately” distributing more than $6 billion for colleges to disburse to their students, administrators are wrestling with how to quickly identify the students who need help the most without leaving anyone behind.
As school districts roll out their new distance learning plans this week, it’s clear Michigan’s 1.5 million students will be experiencing public education differently depending on where they live.
K-8 students in one Oakland County district will be greeted with a morning “video bell” from their teacher signaling it is time to get to work online, and they will be invited to join two online classroom meetings each school day for prerecorded mini-lessons.
Stress isn’t new to teachers, but what they’re experiencing now makes their typical stress seem like a picnic. Driven by a pandemic to the front lines of an unprecedented rush to distance-learning, the nation’s teachers are scrambling to manage an armful of new challenges. And they’re exhausted.