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COVID Current Events as of September 8, 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:

  • FEMA will no longer reimburse states for the costs of cloth face coverings or PPE in nonemergency settings, including schools, public housing and courthouses


Student Need

  • A high school student in Delaware filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the district’s reopening strategy disadvantages students who opt for fully remote instruction
  • Illuminate Education published a white paper on COVID learning loss and found the following:
    • Learning loss in reading is more pronounced in kindergarten than older grade levels
    • Math learning loss is observed at higher rates than reading loss across all grades


Revenue/Cost Projections:

  • Indiana changed its funding rule to prevent cuts for virtual learning; without the rule change, schools would have seen their funding for remote students drop to 85% of typical funding


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

Enrollment Impact:

  • Pre-school and kindergarten are seeing the largest enrollment declines of all grade levels EdWeek Survey
    • Higher poverty districts are more likely to report enrollment declines because of COVID-19 than lower poverty districts
  • LAUSD kindergarten enrollment declined by 6,000 students in the ’20-’21 SY, with the most significant declines in the low-income neighborhoods
    • Superintendent Beutner attributes this decline in enrollment to the increased burden on families of providing full-time support at home for online learning  


  • In Connecticut, 25%-30% of teachers are opting out of in-person instruction in this schoolyear
  • According to an EdWeek Survey , ~1/3 of teachers who were previously unlikely to leave the profession, now say they are likely to leave their jobs
  • Teacher retirements in New York State are up 20% from the previous school year


Implications for Schools (EdWeek Reopening Tracker):

Pandemic Pods

  • The Washington Post asserts that pandemic pods have the potential to disrupt the education system and are likely “here to stay”
  • However, an EdWeek survey found that only 8% of teachers, principal, and district leaders say they’ve personally interacted with at least one parent in their districts who plan to take the pod approach

Reopening Plans

  • MCH Strategic Data is maintaining a comprehensive mapping of district-specific closures and reopening plans
  • Detroit Public Schools Community District, a district of 51,000 students, started school today (9/8) with 20% of students opting for full-time in-person instruction
  • Responding to pressure from teachers’ unions, Mayor de Blasio delayed the reopening of schools in NYC by 10 days; in-person classes are now slated to begin 9/21
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