New Issue Advisory - "School, Interrupted: How should we teach in a pandemic?"

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  • School Interrupted cover

A new issue advisory titled School, Interrupted: How should we teach in a pandemic? is now available to download. A companion Moderators' Guide to Forums is also available to download.

The coronavirus upended education. Schools across the country shut down in spring of 2020. Now many communities have to decide when and how to reopen them.

Local governments, school boards, teachers, and parents are making hard decisions based on limited and evolving information. Evidence suggests that young children are less likely to suffer severe effects from the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that schools can reopen but with strict masking and other safety measures. Even so, teachers, custodians, bus drivers, and others spend indoor time with students and could catch the virus.

Yet there are huge costs to keeping schools closed. Children can fall behind in reading, writing, and math skills. Some suffer emotionally and psychologically from isolation and lack of contact with their teachers and schoolmates. Distance learning is not a perfect option, and not all families have reliable access to Wi-Fi and computers. In many families, adults cannot stay home to support and watch children who are not in school. Experts have also voiced special concerns about children with disabilities, who may require intensive support, and about challenges facing people learning English.

How should we teach all of our children now while keeping them safe?

This advisory presents three options for moving forward, each coming from a different perspective and each reflecting a different set of ideas about what should be done. 

  • Option One: Put health concerns first
  • Option Two: Put learning and emotional well-being first
  • Option Three: Focus on children most likely to fall behind

Click here to read more and for links to download the issue advisory.