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COVID Current Events as of August 31, 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:

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that children represent 9.3% of all COVID cases


Revenue/Cost Projections:

  • A Barron’s analysis finds that keeping schools closed could cost the US economy at least $700B in the next academic year alone; this is primarily due to lost parent productivity


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

  • A recent Gallup poll found that the percent of parents reporting that their children will attend public schools declined from 83% in 2019 to 76% in 2020
    • The home school percentage doubled from 5% to 10% in the same time period  
  • Betsy DeVos issued a statement softening her position on school reopening, saying, “I think perhaps there’s been a little bit of a misunderstanding that going back to school meant 100% of the students had to be in-person 100% of the time. No, the expectation is that there’s 100% learning in a way that’s going to work for each family and each student, and importantly, in each community and each school.”
  • A recent study of how leading charter networks transitioned from in-person to remote learning found the following best practices:
    • Create and enforce a typical school day with a mix of live and recorded lessons and independent work
    • Prioritize student health and wellbeing
    • Lean into a team approach to teaching, centered around a common curriculum


  • 73% of school bus drivers across the country are 55 or older; Cedar Rapids Community District experienced this acutely, they’ve lost 20% of its bus drivers to coronavirus fears


Implications for Schools (EdWeek Reopening Tracker):

Reopening Plans

  • A CRPE analysis of district reopening plans found that ~50% of districts across the county plan to open in-person
    • Urban districts are significantly more likely than suburban or rural districts to open fully remote
      • Equity implication: 41% of districts serving the highest concentration of students in poverty will be starting fully remotel
  • New York City’s teachers’ union prepares to strike if their demands for delaying in-person school opening beyond the scheduled reopening data, 9/10
    • Work stoppages in the state of New York by public sector employees are illegal
    • This would be the first teachers’ strike in NYC since 1975
  • California reopening plans will be dictated by a tiered system the assigns colors to counties based on two factors: (1) the number of new positive cases per 100,000 people and (2) the percentage of positive test results over the previous week
    • As of 8/31, 38 of the 58 counties (87% of students) in the state were classified as “purple”, indicating that they cannot reopen in-person
  • LAUSD’s remote attendance policy has raised concerns amongst people who think the policy made be too lax. Students will be considered present if they:
    • Send an email, send a text, or talk to a teacher at any point during the day
    • Appear in a live session over Zoom, however briefly
    • Log into an online school account
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