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COVID Current Events as of July 27, 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.

 Student Need:

  • A study conducted by NBER finds a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and post-COVID online search intensity for school-centered resources
    • Study conclusion: Areas of the country with higher income, greater internet access, and fewer rural schools had substantially larger increases than less advantaged areas
  • In a study of learning experience during the pandemic, just 39% of students grades 5-12 said they “learned a lot almost every day”
    • This is compared to 60% of students last year


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

  • Senate Republicans proposed a bill that would provide $70 billion to K-12 education; at least half of that funding could be reserved for schools offering in-person classes
  • The NAACP sues Betsy DeVos over purportedly illegally changing the ways in which CARES Act funds are allocated
    • Rather than using the proportion of low income students private schools serve to determine funding disbursement, DeVos seeks to provide private school funding based on the proportion of all students that they serve
  • Harvard released a reopening framework that is driven by virus incidence level in terms of the number of daily new cases per 100,000 people
  • Families, who can afford to do so, are considering alternate options for remote schooling, including pods and microschools, which some experts fear could deepen the educational divide


Implications for Schools:

  • A Kaiser Family Foundation poll reveals racial and political divide in back-to-school preferences:
    • 90% of parents of color say they are worried that they or someone else in their family will get sick from coronavirus as a result of school reopening; this is compared to 53% of white parents
    • 60% of all parents say it is better to open schools later to minimize infection
      • 87% of Democrats say it is better to open school later
      • 36% of Republicans say is better to open schools sooner so parents can work

Reopening Plans  (CRPE District Response Tracker):

  • 9 of the 15 largest districts have announced fully remote reopening plans. Some key exceptions (as of 7/23):
    • New York City Department of Education is planning for a hybrid reopening with the option for fully remote instruction
    • City of Chicago Public Schools has not decided how they plan on reopening
    • Miami-Dade plans to make in-person instruction available to all students
  • In response to the decision to open school fully remotely, LA County pursues parks and libraries as alternate learning sites
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