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.


Career Prep

Today’s education reporters may often find themselves following students out of the classroom and into their first jobs. Though academic achievement remains paramount, high schools and colleges are putting greater focus on helping students navigate careers and ready themselves for work. 


Demographics & Diversity

As the U.S. population grows more diverse, it’s impossible to tell the story of American education without considering the many ways our schools and colleges are shaped by the demographic make-up of the people inside them.

Image of a student using digital learning

Digital Learning

Online education was once hyped as a silver bullet for revolutionizing education, providing broad access to high-quality learning tools to all regions and bringing down the high cost of college. But while it didn’t transform education completely, the online format is booming, as schools expand their offerings to reach students everywhere, and benefiting people like adult learners who can’t stop their lives to go back to campus.


Equity in Education

Education is said to be the great equalizer. The modern U.S. school system was created in the 19th century with the intention of educating the masses — not just the privileged or religious elite. A public role for higher education, and systems for broadening access to it, was carved out over time, too — through the creation of land-grant colleges during and after the Civil War, the passage of the G.I. Bill after World War II, and the establishment of community colleges in the 1960s.


Sexual Assault & Title IX

Sex is one of the most difficult  topics that journalists cover. Make the topic allegations of sexual misconduct or assault involving students at a school, and the emotions — and risks — become especially intense. 

So journalists covering Title IX — the federal law that bans discrimination based on sex in education programs — should be especially careful. 


Student Health

When students are unwell — whether they have a run-of-the-mill cold, a chronic illness, or a mental health condition like depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — it is more difficult for them to learn. Many more students face chronic physical and mental health challenges than in years past, making this a vital area about which education reporters should learn.


Student Life

In theory, the main focus for schools and students is academics – what they learn in their classes. But in reality, students’ experiences outside of classrooms account for some of their most important learning gains, make key contributions to their academic and professional success, and play important roles in their financial, mental and physical health.