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COVID Current Events as of September 14, 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 Brookings Institute study found that only about 15% of household with children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals have been receiving meals since school started
    • As parents have returned to work, they have not been able to pick up meals during designated time periods, often between 11 am and 1pm
  • The NYT put together a roundtable of education experts to discuss the impact of school closures on learning loss
    • Participants: Susana Cordova, Superintendent of Denver Publics Schools | Nikole Hannah-Jones, NYT Magazine Staff Writer | John B. King Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education | Pedro Moguera, Dean of Rossier School of Education | Shana White, computer science teacher
  • School closures have impacted students’ ability to access dental care because those in rural areas often receive visits from hygienists in school

Remote Connectivity:

  • According to a Pew Research Center study, 59% of parents from lower income backgrounds expect their children to face at least one of the following digital learning obstacles:
    • Have to do their schoolwork on a cellphone
    • Have to use public Wi-Fi to finish their schoolwork because of unreliable internet at home
    • Not able to complete their schoolwork because they do not have access to a computer at home
  • NC Governor, Cooper, announced nearly $40 million in funding for NC Student Connect, a new partnership intended to distribute 100,000 wireless high speed hot spots for students and to create accessible, free internet sites across the state
  • Idaho Governor, Little, announced $50 million in funding that provides families with $1,500 per student (up to $3,500 per family) to purchase eligible educational materials, devices, and services
  • The D.C. government use $3.3 million of the federal response fund it received to cover the monthly internet bills for 25,000 low-income families for a year

 

Revenue/Cost Projections:

  • To curb transportation expenses, a growing number of school districts are offering to pay families who opt out of district-sponsored bussing

 

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

  • EdWeek warns that schools could be in danger of getting sued as the “standard of care” for maintaining health and safety continues to shift

 

Implications for Schools (EdWeek Reopening Tracker):

Reopening Plans

  • Broward County superintendent expects that most schools will be able to open for in-person instruction 5 days/week in October, contingent on  20%-30% of students opting for fully remote instruction   

Remote Instruction:

  • In Shelby County, more than 17,000 educators signed a petition to shorten the required 6.5 hours of daily live instruction
  • After 2 weeks of remote instruction, Miami-Dade cut ties with the flawed learning platform, My School Online
    • The board also changed the rules that allowed the superintendent to award this type of $15 million, no-bid contract
  • In some west coast neighborhoods hit hardest by fires, remote learning preparation has allowed for some level of stability throughout the crisis
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