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.

Latest News

Colleges Develop Strategies for Recruiting Students Without a Campus Visit

The coronavirus situation is forcing colleges to teach online for a few weeks or the rest of the semester. Budgets are tight. People are stressed. But for admissions, the timing is just as colleges are rolling out their days for admitted applicants. Most colleges have canceled these days (along with most student activity on their campuses) and are left to recruit students without what for most of them is one of their best assets: their physical campuses. This is a crucial time of year for many students.

Latest News

School Closures for Coronavirus Could Extend to the End of School Year, Some Say

As national fears swell over the coronavirus outbreak, more than a dozen governors called for school closures on Sunday.

Now, more than 30 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have closed schools for at least two or three weeks. Some officials have predicted even longer shutdowns that could stretch through the end of the school year.  

Read the full story here.

Latest News

Two New Coronavirus Cases Confirmed in Chicago Schools

Two coronavirus cases were confirmed Sunday at Chicago Public Schools, one coming at a South Side elementary school and another at a Southwest Side charter, the day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all Illinois schools closed starting Tuesday.

The one at the kindergarten through eighth grade elementary school, district-run Sheridan Math and Science Academy in Bridgeport, was announced in an email to all CPS families Sunday evening. The district wouldn’t say whether it was a student or a staff member who came down with the coronavirus, COVID-19.

Latest News

As Coronavirus Cases Rise Nationally, Delaware Schools Prepare for the Worst

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in states surrounding Delaware continues to grow, so too does the urgency of district officials crafting preparedness plans for Delaware schools. 

State officials have told districts that as of yet there is no need to make immediate decisions about reducing class sizes or school closures. With no confirmed cases in Delaware as of Tuesday, school districts across the state have primarily encouraged good hygiene and flu prevention practices among students and staff. 

Latest News

After-school Programs Urged to Follow Health Officials’ Guidance on Coronavirus

After-school programs are urged to follow the guidance of their local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the coronavirus epidemic, the Afterschool Alliance said in a statement. Share CDC information and check the department of health in your state, the organization said.

Latest News

Education Leaders Planning For Schools to Remain Closed Beyond March Because of Virus

School leaders across Houston are bracing for long-term campus closures that will require extensive efforts to deliver meals and educational materials to hundreds of thousands of children forced to stay home due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Hours after nearly all Houston-area districts announced they will be closed through next week in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, education leaders said Friday they are preparing to remain out of school well beyond this month.

Latest News

What Happens to Student Teachers When Schools and Colleges Close Due to Coronavirus?

Across the country, schools and universities are closing to prevent further outbreak of the coronavirus—and student-teachers are caught in the middle.

Thousands of schools have been closed or are scheduled to close, according to Education Week’s database, which is continuously being updated. And dozens of colleges and universities have also canceled or postponed in-person classes, moving to online instruction.

Latest News

Austin Schools Closed Friday Amid Coronavirus Threat

The Austin school district shuttered its campuses Friday amid the growing threat of the new coronavirus.

Citing an “interest of health safety in regard to our students and staff,” the district told parents in a 3:35 a.m. email and phone call that it would “continue to closely monitor the situation and provide operational updates, as necessary.”

Latest News

Future Unclear For Support Staff on Empty College Campuses

Amid virus fears, hundreds of colleges and universities have now moved face-to-face instruction online. Some, like the University of Washington, have decided to keep campuses open and to let students decide if they want to stay.

Other colleges, however, have said in no uncertain terms that students, barring extraordinary circumstances, need to leave campus.

Latest News

Masks, Gloves and Doritos: COVID-19 Rattles College Students, Faculty

ALBANY — By noon on Thursday, the dorms at University at Albany were eerily silent. In the Campus Center, small clusters of students waited around listlessly.  Some wore masks or rubber gloves provided by the college upon request.

Sharinel Nunez, a sophomore from Brooklyn, said she wore the protective gear because she was planning to take public transportation back home later in the day.

“I don’t know if I’m safer here or in the city,” she said. “I feel like there are a lot of cases we still don’t know about.”

Latest News

Coronavirus Is Shutting Schools. Is America Ready for Virtual Learning?

More than 10,000 K-12 schools in the United States have shuttered or announced closings because of worries about spreading the coronavirus, affecting some 5 million students. Entire states, including Ohio and Maryland, and some of the nation’s big cities, including San Francisco and Houston, announced closings on Thursday.

Though health experts disagree to what extent school closures will help, some parents are signing petitions demanding that more schools close and shift to online learning to protect families from the risk of infection.

Latest News

Closed Schools Could Get OK to Not Give State Tests Amid Coronavirus, Education Department Says

States might be able to scrap their required annual tests for closed schools, the federal education department said Thursday, as concerns about the coronavirus swept the country. 

Guidance released by the U.S. Department of Education says it will consider waiving requirements for state-wide tests, currently mandated in grades 3-8 and once in high school. State testing occurs throughout the spring, and some school closures were already running into planned testing windows.  

Latest News

SAT Test Centers Begin to Cancel. Will Florida Call Off Spring Testing?

As coronavirus closes schools, a growing number of educators, observers and others have also asked whether states will continue to require students to sit for their annual spring accountability tests.

“There are plenty of reasons to question the high stakes use of these tests in any year, but one thing is clear—this year, they will produce no useful data,” national education blogger Peter Green writes in Forbes.

Latest News

Coronavirus in N.Y.C.: Pressure to Close School System, Nation’s Largest

As leaders across the country have shut down school districts to curb the spread of coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have come under growing pressure from elected officials, public health experts, teachers and parents to do the same in New York City.

The latest to do so was the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, who on Friday called on the city to temporarily close it schools. “It is not time to panic,” he wrote on Twitter. “But it is time to act.”

Latest News

As the Coronavirus Scrambles Colleges’ Finances, Leaders Hope for the Best and Plan for the Worst

The Covid-19 pandemic threatens the health of millions across the country, and it has pitched the remainder of the academic year into chaos and uncertainty. While students wait to learn how, or if, they can finish out their terms, college leaders are beginning to grapple with the longer-term financial ramifications.

Latest News

Schools That Go ‘Remote’ For Coronavirus Must Keep Serving Students With Disabilities. Can Any Really Do It?

When the Northshore School District in Washington state closed all its schools last week out of concerns over the new coronavirus, district officials promised they’d support their students with disabilities as schools moved all lessons online.

School leaders distributed thousands of laptops and WiFi hotspots to students and urged parents of students with disabilities to share concerns and questions. Still, the switch has proved difficult for some parents — something the district says it’s working to address.