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COVID Current Events as of August 11, 2020

Each week, we have been collecting news articles, publications and other items of interest related to COVID and schools to inform ERS' own work to support school districts to manage through the uncertainty. We wanted to make this collection available to district leaders, school leaders, state education leaders and other partners working towards reimagining what school could look like during and after COVID-19.


Constraints from Social Distancing:

  • A recently published WSJ article makes the case for reopening schools, particularly for younger students, citing minimal viral spread amongst children and successful re-openings around the world
  • A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found ~100,000 newly reported cases in U.S. children in the last 2 weeks of July, alone
  • An estimated 41% of school districts need to update/replace their ventilation, heating, and cooling systems; ineffective ventilation systems let viruses linger in the air
  • Although Gwinnett County is reopening schools fully virtually, after only one in-person planning session, 260 district employees were barred from entering schools either because of positive test results or known exposure


Revenue/Cost Projections:

  • EdCounsel summarized the differences in the Senate Republicans’ proposed HEALS bill and the HEROES Act, passed by House Democrats
    • HEALS: $1 trillion package focused on “getting kids back in school, getting workers back to work, and winning the healthcare fight against the virus.”
      • Allocates $70 billion to K-12 education with the potential to condition funding on reopening in-person
    • HEROES: $3.5 trillion package focused on “opening our economy safely and soon; honoring our heroes; and, then, putting much-needed money into the pockets of the American people.”
      • Allocates $58 billion to K-12 education with the acknowledgement that this is not sufficient given the current state of the pandemic


Implications for System (JHU state and national policy tracker):

  • A recent NPR/Ipsos poll found that 2/3 of K-12 teachers prefer if fall classes are taught primarily remote
  • NWEA released guidance for districts on how to administer remote testing, emphasizing the importance of communication and proctors


Implications for Schools (EdWeek Reopening Tracker):

Reopening Plans

  • NYC is the only district of the 10 largest in the country that maintains an in-person reopening plan; 74% of students (more than 700,000) will take part in the city’s blended learning plan
    • The School Reopening Plan Submission to the NYS DOE outlines 3 options for schedule models (pg. 52) that schools can choose between:
      • Alternate days with rotating Mondays; assumes school can serve at least half of students in-person at any given time
      • 1-2 days per week in alternating weeks; assumes school can serve at least one third of students in-person at any given time
      • 6 day rotation with 1-2 days per week in-person; assumes school can serve at least one third of students in-person at any given time
    • ~15% of teachers have requested remote instruction only
  • Broward County plans to offer morning and evening remote instructional sessions for elementary students to provide students and families with additional flexibility
  • An analysis that CRPE published found that as of 7/31, 51% of school districts across the country plan to open either with a hybrid model or fully in-person
    • However, plans vary considerably by locale: over 50% of urban districts plan to open fully remotely where only 4% of rural districts are opening remotely

Staffing/Scheduling Considerations

  • CCSSO outlined new roles for educators to support the needs of students in remote, hybrid, and in-person settings, emphasizing the need for social-emotional support and content leads
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