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.
Bags that typically hold ice now hold enough food for a week—seven lunches and seven breakfasts—for every child that needs one. Plus, a gallon of milk. The food is paid for up front by Elmore County schools but will be reimbursed at the end of the month by the USDA.
“Over half of our kids are on free or reduced lunch,” said Superintendent Richard Dennis in Elmore County, a mostly rural area with just under 12,000 students. They knew they’d need to keep feeding their students even if schools closed.
Setting up distance learning for the 55 million students who were forced out of school by the coronavirus pandemic is a challenge, but it’s even more of a challenge for educators to figure out how to best educate the 7 million students with disabilities. And those students, who are less likely to be able to access online education, are also at much greater risk of falling behind.
Across the nation, differing visions of how and when to reopen school buildings that were closed—many for the rest of the school year—to slow the spread of the coronavirus are creating tension among local, state, and federal officials.
While President Donald Trump casts an ambitious goal of “reopening the country” in early May, some of his own federal agencies say getting the economy back up to speed is closely linked to having schools safely open their doors, freeing up parents to re-enter the workforce.
College Board Cancels June SAT Tests And Floats An ‘Unlikely’ Scenario: College Admission Exams At Home
The spring wave of SAT cancellations continued Wednesday as the College Board announced it will scrap the college admissions test scheduled for June 6 nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now comes what the testing organization calls an “unlikely” scenario: the prospect that the high-stakes SAT could be administered online, and at home, this fall.
His professors adapted swiftly to the campus closure. His classes are continuing online. He expects to graduate on time this spring from Johns Hopkins University, albeit without the pomp of commencement.
Yet Pavan Patel wonders why he and others at the private research university in Baltimore are not getting at least a partial tuition refund. Their education, as this school year ends in the shadow of a deadly pandemic, is nothing like the immersive academic and social experience students imagined when they enrolled. But tuition remains the same: $27,675 per semester.
Social media usage among teens is something that has concerned parents and teachers for years, with each subsequent generation seemingly more addicted to electronics than the one before. But it might end up being the thing that saves them.
Read the full story here.
Financial pain from the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the nation’s colleges and universities hard, and Northwest Missouri State University is no exception. John Jasinski, president of the four-year institution, which enrolls more than 7,000 students and is located 100 miles north of Kansas City, Mo., has been dealing with serious challenges the crisis brought to the university’s budget.
Read the full story here.
If one were to invent a crisis uniquely and diabolically designed to undermine the foundations of traditional colleges and universities, it might look very much like the current global pandemic. An industry that for decades has seemed immune to radical change has been confronted by an enemy that appears to turn its strengths into weaknesses and its defining characteristics into vulnerabilities.
Read the full story here.
Now that the coronavirus outbreak is underway, Zach Klein, 17, is wishing he had applied to a wider variety of schools, specifically those in rural areas that might be less affected by the virus. He is glad, though, that he applied to his mother’s alma mater, Miami University in Ohio. It initially wasn’t high on his list, but now he is reconsidering.
After all, he said, what’s the point of living in a bustling city if he can never leave his dorm under a quarantine?
Present or Absent? With Schools Closed, Some Districts Stop Tracking Attendance, While Others Redefine It
Taking “attendance” in America’s schools has never been more complicated. With school buildings closed nationwide, what once was a straightforward endeavor has become something of an anything-goes attempt to track whether students are engaged.
The stakes are high. Most students are poised to go without months of traditional instruction, and the learning losses could be significant — especially for those who don’t engage at all as schools attempt to teach remotely.
University dorms and classrooms across in Illinois are now empty, but many research labs are active as doctors and scientists have shifted toward COVID-19 prevention efforts.
At least two metro Phoenix school districts have encountered problems with food supply, prompting the state’s largest school district, Mesa Public Schools, to scale back meal distribution.
Since the schools were closed several weeks ago, many of the state’s larger school districts have been distributing free to-go breakfasts and lunches every weekday to any child who comes to get one.
A Seattle District’s Lesson for Washington Schools amid the Coronavirus Closure: Online Learning Is Hard to get Right
It was early March when the Northshore School District abruptly canceled classes, joining some of the first districts in Washington — and the nation — to close due to coronavirus concerns.
The district boasted of its preparation in “moving teaching and learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.” Teachers spent a day preparing to take their lessons virtual. Students who needed a laptop or mobile hot spot could get one at school.
In all, Mariah Bingham has lived in 13 different places since she was born. She’s likely to be on the move again in the coming months.
She’s 11 years old and one of 17,000 homeless students at Chicago Public Schools.
Mariah’s going into the home stretch of fifth grade having already gone to seven schools, never with a stable learning environment.
Now the coronavirus has taken over, and Mariah feels she might take a step back academically.
North Carolina’s transgender students are worried that their privacy and safety are being put at risk as schools switch to teaching students online during the coronavirus pandemic.
North Carolina’s public schools use a version of the PowerSchool student information system that lists the student’s legal name and gender instead of the preferred name and gender identity. LGBTQ advocates say the PowerSchool data is now being used for online learning programs, resulting in some transgender students being outed to their classmates without their consent.
FARMERSVILLE, Calif. — At 7:45 on a recent morning, the strangest of scenes unfolded at Outside Creek Elementary: A school bus pulled up. Students stepped off and sauntered to class. The principal, Derrick Bravo, greeted a parent with a friendly hey-there handshake.
It was humdrum normalcy in the most abnormal of times, as if there were no pandemic, no statewide order to shelter in place, no social-distancing directives.
A new survey this week tells us something we already knew: The vast majority of parents feel completely unequipped to guide their children’s education.
In San Diego, 71 percent of parents reported not having the resources or supplies to keep their children on track, according to a survey by the Education Trust – West.
With the U.S. economy having ground to a halt and the nation suddenly thrust into a recession, what are the implications for K-12 education funding?
Prioritizing Mental Health Care and Coverage During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Get story ideas and self-care tips from this double-duty webinar
Today’s students are struggling with separation from their social circles, the loss of important celebrations like graduation and prom, and, in many cases, life-and-death issues such as an inability to escape a turbulent home life. They’re also digital natives accustomed to socializing online and, in many cases, have used their time to create delightful moments of humor and hope.
As Higher Ed Leaders Wait for Federal Relief, Students Provide Key Services to Classmates and Communities
Last month’s historic $2.2 trillion stimulus package earmarks $14 billion to higher education, but when that money will actually reach colleges and schools is anyone’s guess. As they wait for those dollars to land, institutions are now tapping into their coffers and donation networks to supply students with crucial financial assistance.