The coronavirus outbreak is changing the daily reality for schools and students across the country. We’re working to help you keep track of what’s happening. Here’s the latest.
🔗The big picture
Schools will not have to administer federally required tests this year, President Trump and the U.S. Department of Education announced Friday — an unprecedented but unsurprising move in the wake of widespread school closures due to the new coronavirus.
Also in testing news: Students in Advanced Placement classes will be able to take the end-of-course exams, the College Board announced — but the tests will look very different than usual.
Meanwhile, the federal education department told school districts they should not avoid online instruction because of legal concerns about serving students with disabilities.
Thank you to the hundreds of you who have already told us what school closures in the era of coronavirus mean for your life. We’d love to hear more.
🔗The latest from Chalkbeat’s communities
- Chicago: Chicago’s districtwide school closure will now extend through April 20. The pandemic is testing the district’s restrictions on teacher-student communication, and frontline workers supporting meal distribution at schools are anxious. Attempts at keeping students busy are also underscoring the gaps between virtual learning capabilities in Chicago and elsewhere in the region.
- Colorado: Gov. Jared Polis said it’s “increasingly unlikely” that Colorado schools closed due to coronavirus will reopen this school year, and he also announced emergency child care for workers on the front lines of fighting the virus. Here’s what the shutdown looks like for custodians, and how it might affect the state’s education budget.
- Detroit: The state’s stay-at-home order, and employee concerns, have Detroit’s school district scaling back its meal distribution, and its superintendent wants school called off for the rest of the year. The cancellation of state tests will likely put Michigan’s third-grade reading law on hold. Online education won’t count toward the requirement that schools provide 180 days of instruction, the state says.
- Indiana: All Indiana schools are closed through May 1, and all state tests are canceled. Day care centers are growing quiet as attendance dwindles, but the state’s stay-at-home order won’t close day cares or stop school food distribution. Parents of students with disabilities are struggling to fill the gaps left by school closures.
- New York City: City schools are set to remain closed until at least April 20. Here’s the latest on the city’s emergency child care centers. Remote learning began Monday. State testing has been called off. Crossing guards and substitute teachers are worried about their pay.
- Newark: Schools are now operating remotely indefinitely. That’s leaving working parents struggling to find child care or adapting to homeschooling just as the virus threatens some parents’ livelihoods. But teachers are going the extra mile to stay connected, and Newark will begin providing laptops to students who don’t have them. Here’s what parents need to know about asthma and the coronavirus.
- Tennessee: The Memphis school district had to suspend food distribution after an employee tested positive, but the YMCA is now taking over. State lawmakers voted to scrap state testing. An attempt to use an emergency coronavirus-prompted budget overhaul to block the state’s controversial new voucher program failed.
🔗Other stories to note
- More details: We have live blogs going with up-to-the-minute news in Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, Tennessee, Newark, and New York City.
- School, interrupted: As these major shifts in education continue to cause an unprecedented disruption to American life, we wanted to highlight the faces and voices of those most affected – teachers, students, and families. Here’s a look at what a day without school looks like in America.
- Special education in the age of coronavirus: With more districts shifting to remote learning, a look at Miami’s experience may tell us what challenges lie ahead for students with disabilities.
- What child care providers need: As Congress considers an economic stimulus package, a coalition of state groups is warning that many child care providers won’t survive the coronavirus outbreak without federal help.
- A national look at who’s getting paid: All 10 of the nation’s largest districts say they plan to keep paying teachers and many other employees while schools are closed, for now. But the picture is far murkier for substitute teachers and others who work in schools on a temporary or seasonal basis — putting financial stress on school workers who already have less stable income.
- Answers for parents: We’ve collected tips for easing the burden of school closures on students with disabilities, tips for talking to children about the coronavirus, and answers to your questions about parks and playdates.
- On the front lines: Research illustrates some of what’s at stake when schools close: leaving health care workers without child care.
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