COVID Resources: Education
The Department of Education and the White House are pressuring schools to open in the fall but are providing little to no guidance for doing so safely, threatening to withhold funding for states or districts who do not comply. While the pressure to reopen schools in the fall grows, so does the number of coronavirus cases, leaving school districts and states scrambling to keep up with a quickly changing situation. States will have to consider how to keep all students, teachers, faculty and support staff safe—not just those in wealthy communities—through budget considerations, remote learning options, financial aid, school meals, testing and tracing, and more.
- The Education Commission of the States has information, policy considerations, and examples from states in the following education topic areas:
- Assessments and Accountability
- Broadband and Technology Access
- Continued and Future Learning
- Early Learning
- Instructional Time and Grade Promotion
- Special Education
- Student Health and Wellness
- Guidance for Reopening K-12
- National Education Association’s guidance for reopening has recommendations for school administrators and teachers (as opposed to state legislators) but will help legislators understand the challenges, risks and opportunities for intervention.
- American Federation of Teachers has a guide to reopening. PDF pages 12-14 has recommendations and information for legislators.
- CDC guiding principles for evaluating risk in school setting options.
- See a guide on school buildings and repurposing large common areas and calculating social distance spaces in classrooms: School Buildings and Social Distancing: A Downloadable Guide
- Broadband and Technology Access
- National Digital Inclusion Alliance has a list of state government initiatives to address access to the internet during Covid-19.
- Most states plan to use Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds to expand or continue meeting student needs to access reliable, high speed internet and devices. Legislators can see how other states have used their funds and other opportunities to expand broadband.
- Urge the Federal Communications Commission to take measures to secure broadband access for those impacted by COVID-19 like New Jersey did.
- Invest in broadband activity to significantly increase rural broadband capacity for distance learning, remote working, telehealth and other critical services like Vermont did.
- Invest in existing rural cooperatives in order to support the expansion of broadband to rural communities. This is what Mississippi did.
- Establish a grant program for broadband expansion like was done in Minnesota and Mississippi.
- Food Security for Students K-12
- USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services response to Covid-19 includes lists of child nutrition programs, waivers, parent/guardian meal pick-ups, and other nationwide waivers for students (including students who receive free and reduced lunches).
- Funding for K-12
- For background, see What Congressional Covid Funding Means for K-12 Schools
- The CARES Act provides $13.5 billion in emergency aid for K-12 schools that may be directly impacted by how individual states cut their own education spending.
- An interactive tool that can be adjusted to look at any budgeting scenario: School Funding; what to expect and what states can do.
- Covid-19 Legislative responses: Interactive map to track education bills by state. Includes tracking for all education-related state action regarding the outbreak.
- Teacher Resources
- American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) state policy tracking map that is useful for highlighting present changes to policies for initial licensure, clinical experiences, hiring and induction, and state standards to support EPPs and teacher candidates during Covid-19.
- A guide to community conversations on reopening schools safely. Also includes information on bringing the community together around the conversation.
Resources: Institutions of Higher Education (IHE)
- Guidance for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education (IHE)
- CDC guidance: IHE general setting recommendations and on-campus housing settings including for lowest risk, more risk, and highest risk options.
- The CARES Act provides almost $14 Billion directly to IHE. ACE simulated distribution of funds that would be allocated by The Department of Education.
- Higher Education policy considerations from NCSL includes in-person vs. remote learning options, financial considerations, admissions and enrollment, and more, and can be found here.