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Coronavirus Impacts on Education and Learning

August 21, 2020
  • A Historic Disruption to School
  • A Historic Disruption to School
  • The Impact on Student Learning
  • Parents Are the New Teachers
  • Ensuring Students Have What they Need to Succeed
  • Educators and Schools Go Above and Beyond
    A Historic Disruption to School

    The coronavirus pandemic forced a near-total shutdown of school buildings in the spring of 2020. With as many as days and as few as hours’ notice, school and system administrators scrambled to deploy devices and resources to ensure learning continued.

    At their peak, the closures affected at least 55.1 million students in 124,000 U.S. public schools. Nearly every state either ordered or recommended that schools remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 school year.

    Today, students are learning at home, in school and in between. This is only possible thanks to the herculean efforts of students, parents, educators and leaders.

    Card 1 COVID Flashcards 2020

    Source: Map: Coronavirus and School Closures (2020, March 6). Education Week. Retrieved June 25, 2020 from
    The Impact on Student Learning Will Be Dramatic and Unequal

    The pandemic is exposing and exacerbating the deep inequities that have long characterized American public education. Research predicts steep COVID-19 learning losses will widen already dramatic gaps, and students who are the most vulnerable will likely bear the brunt of the related learning losses. Historically, unexpected interruptions to schooling have been found to undermine student achievement and even later success in higher education.

    COVID Flashcards student learning loss

    Across 19 states, the average estimate of how much students lost in the Spring of 2020 ranged from 57 to 183 days of learning in reading and from 136 to 232 days of learning in math.

    Research shows that Black, Latinx and students from low-income communities will be disproportionately impacted by learning loss due to COVID-19.

    Card 2 COVID flashcards 2020

    Sources: Kuhfeld, Megan, James Soland, Beth Tarasawa, Angela Johnson, Erik Ruzek, and Jing Liu. (2020). Projecting the potential impacts of COVID-19 school closures on academic achievement. (EdWorkingPaper: 20-226). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

    COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime (2020, June 1). McKinsey. Retrieved June 25, 2020 from

    COVID-19 Spring District Responses (2020, May 15). Center for Reinventing Public Education. Retrieved June 25, 2020 from
    Parents Are the New Teachers

    In March 2020, parents across the country earned a new title – educator. For parents, especially those with young children, school closures meant taking on new responsibilities for their child’s education – ensuring devices are charged, internet is reliable, homework is done and lessons are complete. Parents and educators worked together to do everything they could to ensure children never stop learning.

    Card 4 COVID Flashcards 2020

    The good news is – thanks to the work of educators and administrators – the majority of parents report that they feel prepared to support remote learning.

    57% of parents agree that their child’s remote schooling is working better than they expected.

    • 64% African American
    • 62% Hispanic
    • 56% White

    54% feel completely or very prepared to support their child while they are doing schoolwork at home

    • 68% African American
    • 53% Hispanic
    • 50% White
    Sources: Household Pulse Survey: May 7 – May 12 (2020, May 20). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2020 from

    Parents 2020 | COVID-19 Closures (2020, May 20), Learning Heroes. Retrieved June 25, 2020 from
    Ensuring Students Have What they Need to Succeed

    According to a report from Common Sense Media and Boston Consulting Group, 16 million students lack the devices and internet connections needed to succeed in the at-home learning environment.

    This digital divide disproportionately impacts rural communities and Black, Latino and Native American households.

    Card 5 COVID Flashcards 2020

    Grantees across the country are trying to change this reality. Local organizations like the T.D. Jakes Foundation, African Leadership Group and PAVE are distributing hotspots and computers to families across Texas, Colorado, Washington, D.C. and beyond.

    Source: Closing the K-12 digital divide in the age of coronavirus (2020, June 29). Common Sense Media. Retrieved June 29, 2020 from

    Source: Parents Overwhelmingly Concerned Their Children Are Falling Behind During School Closures (2020). The Education Trust. Retrieved June 29, 2020 from

    Source: Common Sense Media | SurveyMonkey Poll: How Teens Are Coping and Connecting the Time of the Coronavirus (2020). Common Sense Media and Survey Monkey. Retrieved June 29, 2020 from
    Educators and Schools Go Above and Beyond

    Amid uncertain times and challenging circumstances, many educators and schools are working tirelessly to put students first. From ensuring students have their basic needs met, to finding creative ways to bring the classroom into students’ living rooms, these heroes are doing whatever it takes to keep learning going.

    Educators at the Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School in Indianapolis went door-to-door to deliver backpacks, devices and supplies to the homes of every single student.

    Card 6 COVID Flashcards 2020

    Parents at Purpose Prep are facing two crises – destruction in the wake of a tornado and COVID-19. Educators are ensuring students don’t miss a beat, providing necessary food and supplies, and at-home learning resources, including resource packets for those without devices and internet.

    Cristina Correa, an AP art teacher at IDEA San Juan College Prep in Texas, modified her curriculum to incorporate common household materials into art lessons. Students used things like coffee grinds and nutmeg to create artistic masterpieces.

    The San Antonio Foundation for Excellence in Education provided 4,000 hotspots to low-income families, and increased their meal distribution efforts to offer dinner to 9,500 families five times per week.

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