Coronavirus and Education
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.
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.
Thousands of schools in five states plus the District of Columbia were set to close as governors ordered statewide shutdowns, a dramatic escalation in the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic.
With COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the United States, thousands of superintendents are suddenly becoming fluent in a peculiar new idiom: that of “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” of infection to prevent overwhelming medical facilities. Increasingly, they’re faced with the tough decision of if and when they should decide to close their schools to stave off transmission.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered all K-12 schools in the state to close in light of concerns about the coronavirus.
Whitmer announced the order during an 11 p.m. press conference, where she was accompanied by State Superintendent Michael Rice and other state officials.
The order affects nearly 1.5 million public school students, 537 school districts and nearly 300 charter schools. Private schools are also affected.
Ohio’s Department of Health has banned “mass gatherings” of over 100 people in Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine says the state will also suspend schools for three weeks to stop the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Gov. Mike DeWine says the state will suspend schools for three weeks to stop the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
“This action is not an action I took lightly,” DeWine said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
The threat of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, is forcing educators across the country to think about what they’ll do if they have to close their schools for weeks or even months at a time. State and federal agencies have advised schools to create online learning plans to minimize the disruption to student learning. For some schools, that’s a small leap. Their students have internet connections at home, laptops they can work from, teachers who know how to design online lessons and a strong foundation of in-school blended learning experience.
NEARLY 150 TESTING centers in the U.S. canceled their administration of the SAT college entrance exam to students as planned for March 14 – the latest interruption to American life caused by the coronavirus.
The administration of the SAT is also canceled countrywide in 17 countries, including places like China, Italy, Japan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
Bucking the national trend, the University of Georgia plans to resume normal class operations following spring break on Monday. And the University System of Georgia intends to keep all 26 public campuses open, contrary to decisions by more than 150 other colleges, including the entire University of North Carolina System, to close down because of the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Emory announced it is moving classes online and closing its dorms, followed by a similar decision earlier today by the Atlanta University Center campuses, Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta,
As the new coronavirus continues to sicken Coloradans, school nurses in Denver are calling attention to a concerning fact: While the school district’s protocol heavily relies on nurses to detect suspected outbreaks, only 11% of the city’s public schools have a full-time nurse.
That percentage goes up to 15% when factoring in schools that span grade levels, such as a middle/high school, that share a full-time nurse between them. The rest of Denver’s more than 220 schools have a nurse only part time.
Many Houston-area school districts, private schools and institutions of higher education are taking steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the region. Here’s the latest rundown of cancellations and closings.
Read the full story here.
All school-sponsored travel to the mainland U.S. and abroad will be canceled for the rest of the school year effective Thursday due to coronavirus, the Hawaii Department of Education informed parents in a March 11 letter posted to the agency’s website.
As the new coronavirus continues to cause chaos and anxiety in the U.S., many colleges and universities are responding by closing up shop. Some have canceled face-to-face instruction and moved online, while others have gone a step further and called for residence halls to be emptied. One institution, Berea College, has said there will be no further instruction at all, effectively ending the semester early.
Cases of the coronavirus will inevitably hit students and staff in San Francisco classrooms, but for now, all public schools will remain open across the city, officials said Wednesday.
“After careful consideration and hours of consultation” and despite calls from parents to shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the 132 schools serving 56,000 students in the district will remain open, said San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Vincent Matthews.
Seattle Public Schools will close for a minimum of two weeks starting Thursday, according to an email sent to school administrators Wednesday. The district later confirmed the news in a press release.
The email said the decision was made after conferring with county and school officials. It instructs principals to treat the closure as if they are going on spring break, and lists some guidance for going forward.
“We know you do not have time to do everything and we trust that you will do your best given the circumstances,” the email said.
Amid the spread of COVID-19, the growing health crisis presents school leaders with a painful choice. Closing schools — as has been done, so far, in China, Japan, Italy and elsewhere — is a proven measure that has been shown to slow the spread of disease and, in turn, save lives. But it also causes huge economic and social disruption, especially for children, millions of whom depend on the free and reduced-cost meals they get at school.
The U.S. Department of Education has moved to ease rules on colleges and universities looking to shift their classes onto the internet, as closures of campuses cascaded with the hastening spread of the coronavirus.
With fears growing in higher education, the department has granted what it said was “broad approval” to schools seeking relief from federal standards as they activated “distance learning” programs that still must comply with higher education laws.
The University of Michigan will cancel all classes on Thursday and Friday before starting online instruction on Monday. The announcement covers the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. In addition, all events with more than 100 people scheduled are cancelled. Michigan Athletics is limiting spectators at all campus athletic events to family members and media.
As coronavirus threatens to shutter Florida schools, educators have spent time exploring how to keep kids learning from home.
But what about the other things that schools also offer children?
Amid growing coronavirus fears, colleges around the country are sending a jarring message to students this week, many of whom are off campus on spring break: Don’t come back.
If Utah schools are forced to close because of the coronavirus, officials are worried about how many students might go hungry.
It’s one of the bigger complications that would come out of having to move classes online in the case of an outbreak.
How Area Schools are Planning to Instruct Thousands of Students in the Event of Long-Term Coronavirus Closures
School districts across the region are creating online lesson plans and sending students home with packets of assignments as they brace for the prospect of the spreading coronavirus causing extended school closures.
More than a dozen districts serving thousands of students said they would preemptively close in the coming days to give administrators and teachers time to plan how best to deliver instruction to students in the event that schools are shut down.