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.

Highlight

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

Florida School Boards Try To Balance Coronavirus Emergency With Sunshine

No one spoke Tuesday at a Pasco County School Board public hearing about plans to send hundreds of elementary students to different schools next year.

It wasn’t for a lack of opportunity.

Despite a state stay at home order, the board conducted its session in its usual meeting room — though it adhered to social distancing guidelines that kept the public out of the chamber until invited in one by one to speak. It also opened a teleconference line for residents to call with comments.

Latest News

School Budgets Are In Big Trouble, Especially In High-poverty Areas. Here’s Why — And What Could Help

When the last recession hit school budgets about a decade ago, it didn’t hit them equally. Affluent school districts saw their state funding drop by more than $500 per student after the downturn.

High-poverty districts in the same state lost much more: over $1,500 per student in state funds. Now, the coronavirus has brought much of the American economy to a halt. Another recession is possible, even likely. And the poorest school districts, which are particularly reliant on state funds, may once again bear the brunt of the budget crunch.

Latest News

Coronavirus Aid Might Not Prevent Cuts to School Funding, Analysis Shows

Even with $13.5 billion in coronavirus relief aid provided to schools by Congress last month, an across-the-board 8 percent cut to states’ school funding would lead to a decline in per-pupil spending in all 50 states, a new analysis shows.

In addition, the analysis by Michael Griffith, a veteran school finance consultant, finds that the K-12 relief package signed by President Donald Trump on March 27 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act amounts to less than 2 percent of all spending on public schools.

Latest News

Coronavirus: 4 In 10 U.S. Teens Report Not Doing Online Learning

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

The poll of 849 teenagers, by Common Sense Media, conducted with SurveyMonkey, found that as schools across the country transition to some form of online learning, 41% of teenagers overall, including 47% of public school students, say they haven’t attended a single online or virtual class.

Webinar

Express Webinar: How to Get Your Freelance Education Stories Published
Editors explain how to pitch and what to expect

As the coronavirus pandemic triggers widespread furloughs and layoffs at news outlets, a growing number of education reporters are seeking freelance opportunities to continue covering their vitally important beat. 

But which publications are paying for journalism these days? And how can education reporters cut through the noise to get their pitches heard? 

Latest News

Adrift in the Coronavirus Pandemic: Families With Children Under Age 5

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches into multiple weeks, it has had cascading effects on families, from stay-at-home orders and school closures, to layoffs, hospitalizations, and deaths. 

While public school districts throughout the country have quickly pivoted to provide meals, tech devices, and learning materials for K-12 children, low-income families with infants and toddlers have found no equivalent safety net. 

Latest News

Charlotte the Only N.C. District Kept Out of Extra State Aid Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Ninety-nine of North Carolina’s 100 counties received a boost to the amount of coronavirus relief funding they received for each public and charter school student, leaving just Mecklenburg County out of the “low-wealth” supplemental funds for education.

When Gov. Roy Cooper set aside $50 million of COVID-19 relief money for schools, half of the package was divided among counties based on the number of enrolled students. The money was earmarked for four things: meal services, emergency childcare, remote learning, and cleaning and sanitizing schools.

Latest News

Where Is the Stimulus Money, Colleges Ask?

When Congress set aside about $14 billion specifically for higher education in the stimulus bill it passed two weeks ago, lawmakers had the well-intentioned goal of most of the money going to colleges and universities that serve larger shares of lower-income students.

But lawmakers also didn’t want to penalize large institutions that don’t enroll as many lower-income students.

Read the full story here.

Latest News

Competitors or Collaborators: Some School Closure Orders Look to Restrict Virtual Charters to Protect Brick-and-Mortar Schools During Coronavirus Crisis

While virtual charters have typically earned headlines for struggling academic performance, allegations of enrollment fraud and influential lobbying, the coronavirus pandemic has put the online schools in a new position: as uniquely well-suited to provide education to students amid the global crisis.

EWA Radio

Self-Care for Journalists 101
How to protect your mental health and physical well-being while covering crises like the COVID-19 pandemic
(EWA Radio: Episode 234)

Education reporters, like everyone else, are struggling to cope with the stress and many day-to-day challenges of life during a pandemic. At the same time, they’re working hard under difficult conditions to chronicle the impact on students, schools and families. and pitching in on broader coverage for their newsrooms.

Latest News

College Made Them Feel Equal. The Virus Exposed How Unequal Their Lives Are.

The political science class was called “Forced Migration and Refugees.” Students read accounts of migrants fleeing broken economies and seeking better futures, of life plans drastically altered and the political forces that made it all seem necessary.

Then suddenly, the subject matter became personal: Haverford College shut down and evicted most students from the dormitories as the coronavirus spread through Pennsylvania.

Like many college courses around the country, the class soldiered on. The syllabus was revised. The students reconvened on a videoconferencing app.

Latest News

Planning Ahead to Catch Up Students When School Reopens After Coronavirus

In Mississippi and across the nation, schools closed because of coronavirus are struggling to find ways to educate children remotely. But even as Mississippi’s education leaders adapt to new platforms, experts say, they must begin to plan ahead. Once campuses fully reopen, schools will need clear strategies to catch up students who have been unable to keep up their studies at home, the experts advise.

Thousands of students already harmed by the state’s achievement gaps and underfunding will be hit hard.

Latest News

Coronavirus School Closures Lead to Missing Online Students

By Friday morning, only eight of Keara Williams’ 24 Advanced Placement English students had submitted the assignments she posted online after school closed three weeks ago.

By end of last week, Los Angeles Unified had not made contact with 7%, or about 8,400, of high school students since campuses shut down on March 16, marking an improvement from earlier when about 15,000 had not joined online classes.

Latest News

Rural South Carolina Students With Slow Internet Struggle to E-Learn

Burgundy Barr and her family had gotten used to having slow internet.

Their wireless internet speed is supposedly three megabits per second (mbps), Larry Barr said. He ran a test during a phone interview and the actual download speed was closer to 2.5 and the upload speed was .3 mpbs.

The average American broadband speed is more than 55 times that, at 137 mbps, according to Ookla, a company that makes apps that test internet connection speeds.

Latest News

At Home or at School, in May or in June: Advanced Placement Exams Will Go On Despite Coronavirus

They will be much shorter than usual, just 45 minutes each. They will be available to take online at home, or at school if authorities permit. And they will be monitored through security measures to deter cheating.

The Advanced Placement exams will go on, through extraordinary procedures announced Friday, even though the coronavirus pandemic has produced education disruption and chaos nationwide.

Latest News

NYC Forbids Schools From Using Zoom for Remote Learning due to Privacy and Security Concerns

New York City has banned the video conferencing platform Zoom in city schools weeks after thousands of teachers and students began using it for remote learning.

The education department received reports of issues that impact the security and privacy of the platform during the credentialing process, according to a document shared with principals that was obtained by Chalkbeat on Friday night.

“Based on the DOE’s review of those documented concerns, the DOE will no longer permit the use of Zoom at this time,” the memo said.

Latest News

Illinois Will Charge ‘Essential’ Workers $1 for Child Care During Coronavirus Emergency

Illinois will pick up all but $1 of the tab for health care workers, grocery clerks, and other “essential” workers who place their children in state-licensed child care centers or homes, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday.

The governor also said the state will boost reimbursements rates by 30% for the qualifying centers and homes that operate under emergency waivers during the coronavirus pandemic. To date, Illinois has granted about 550 child care centers the waivers, and another 1,500 home-based operators also qualify. 

Latest News

As School Moves Online, Many Students Stay Logged Out

Chronic absenteeism is a problem in American education during the best of times, but now, with the vast majority of the nation’s school buildings closed and lessons being conducted remotely, more students than ever are missing class — not logging on, not checking in or not completing assignments.

The absence rate appears particularly high in schools with many low-income students, whose access to home computers and internet connections can be spotty. Some teachers report that less than half their students are regularly participating.

Teens, Screen Time and Social Distancing During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Webinar

Teens, Screen Time and Social Distancing During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Building strong and positive relationships with peers is a key ingredient to healthy adolescent brain development. With social distancing guidelines in place in response to the new coronavirus, how will teens maintain their relationships and why does it matter?

In what ways might teens’ savvy with technology help them cope? What impact will the stresses of a scary disease and economic turmoil have on youths’ mental health? Will sheltering-in-place have a disproportionate social-emotional impact on teens as compared with adults and young children?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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.