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.

Education Week is tracking state-level K-12 school closures, which includes the closure of both the buildings and in-person instruction. 

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.

Education Week is tracking state-level K-12 school closures, which includes the closure of both the buildings and in-person instruction. 

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.

Highlight

Word on the Beat: Remote Learning

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.

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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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One Alabama County Relies on Army of Volunteers to Keep Feeding Children

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.

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Schools Struggle to Educate Students With Disabilities Amid Pandemic

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.

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States Face Thorny Issues in Deciding When to Reopen Schools Post-Pandemic

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.

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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.

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College Students Protest Paying Full Tuition After Coronavirus

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.

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Public Colleges Face Looming Financial Blow From State Budget Cuts

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.

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How Should Colleges Prepare for a Post-Pandemic World?

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.

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Coronavirus Changes Where Students Go to College, FAFSA Financial Aid

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? 

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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.

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Arizona Schools Are Running out of To-Go Meals

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. 

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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.

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Inside the Life of a Homeless Chicago Student in the Age of Coronavirus

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.

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Transgender Students Worry About Being Outed

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.

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For Students at a Lone School in California, Class Is Still On

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.

Prioritizing Mental Health Care and Coverage During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Webinar

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.

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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.