Schools are prepping for coronavirus quarantines by leaning into remote learning

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The potential for long-term school closures is boosting edtech companies—though some closed schools are just using Google Hangouts. When a high school student at Jackson High School in Washington State tested positive for the new coronavirus, the school became one of the first in the U.S. to temporarily close because of the illness while the campus underwent cleaning and disinfecting. With a looming possibility of longer closures, some other schools are preparing by turning to edtech. Around the rest of the world, millions of students are already relying on remote meeting technology as they spend weeks in quarantine. Read Full Story

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Schools are closed, but they’re scrambling to find ways to get food to students in need anyway

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30 million American children rely on schools for lunch. With schools closed, many are still offering food. Millions of students are now out of school because of the coronavirus crisis—and may be home for the rest of the school year. For many students, that also means that it could be harder to eat: 30 million American children rely on free or reduced-price lunches, and some also eat free breakfast and dinner at school. It’s one reason that some cities resisted closing schools earlier. As of March 18, 39 states have closed schools. Read Full Story

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The sudden shift to remote learning is exposing the huge gaps in which students have access to technology

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Can the solutions being slapped together during the pandemic help create more permanent solutions during the recovery? In North Carolina, school buses equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots are bringing internet access to underserved areas. In Texas, a school district invested in its own transmission towers to expand its Wi-Fi signals’ reach. One high school district in Arizona has committed to contacting every single student, every day, to check in on how families are coping and what other resources they need, as they navigate the coronavirus crisis. Read Full Story

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Our lack of will to expand broadband access has left millions of students disconnected during closures

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As schools close and students and teachers are forced to improvise ways to do distance learning, it’s exposing a big fault line in our society: our refusal to guarantee every household internet access. Over the course of the past two weeks, all but three states have announced a statewide closure of schools. As districts and teachers struggle to come up with viable distance learning plans, they do so knowing that their best laid plans will likely still leave approximately seven million children without the ability to “go to school” for the rest of the year. Why? Because those students don’t have broadband at home. Read Full Story

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I’m a former superintendent. Here’s what really worries me about reopening schools

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Schools and classrooms attended by low-income students of color could become epicenters of a second wave of pandemic. Here’s why. Classrooms, gyms, and cafeterias at schools across the U.S. have remained empty for months now. And despite some districts beginning to reopen , many others will remain closed amid fears that prematurely restarting in-person classes could cost more lives in the pandemic . Read Full Story

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A COVID-19 recession could shrink the paychecks of the Class of 2020 for years

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High school and college graduates in 2020 could have expected the strongest job market in 50 years. Now, due to massive economic fallout, they’re at risk of graduating into a recession. Before the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses and schools to close, high school and college graduates from the Class of 2020 could have expected to graduate into the strongest job market in 50 years. Read Full Story

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‘I don’t know how to do this’: 3 families on the trials of virtual learning

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The U.S. education system is not created equal—especially during the coronavirus pandemic. We spoke with parents about remote school, infection risk, and how they’re managing work during lockdown. This story is part of Fast Company ‘s Reinventing Education package. As millions of students begin school during a deadly pandemic and global recession, we’re highlighting the ongoing efforts to keep children safe in the classroom, educate them remotely, and help their parents manage a new second shift. Click here to read the whole series. Read Full Story

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Can your school open while avoiding a COVID-19 outbreak? These 2 factors matter most

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Keeping kids in classrooms will depend on how many resources a school and a local public health department has—and whether the greater community can keep coronavirus transmission under control. This story is part of Fast Company’s Reinventing Education package. As millions of students begin school during a deadly pandemic and global recession, we’re highlighting the ongoing efforts to keep children safe in the classroom, educate them remotely, and help their parents manage a new second shift. Click here to read the whole series. Read Full Story

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The coronavirus crisis is hitting childcare workers especially hard

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As families try to limit their exposure to coronavirus, the childcare industry is becoming collateral damage. Five daycare workers and nannies share how they’re making ends meet. Between school closures and shelter-in-place orders to curb the spread of COVID-19, parents across the country are now quarantined with their children. For those who have the ability to work from home, this has meant juggling a variety of roles in addition to their full-time jobs. Read Full Story

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With graduations canceled, students are using ‘Minecraft’ to recreate college campuses

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The online video game lets Gen Z rebuild its physical campuses from scratch. Coronavirus has forced schools around the world to close, and with the virus showing no signs of slowing down, most institutions have already postponed their commencement ceremonies or moved them online. Students haven’t been able to engage with classmates and coursework in person, but they’ve used their time at home to create a new type of year-end experience using Minecraft . Read Full Story

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Remote learning exacerbates inequality. Here’s how we must support the most vulnerable kids

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Without a radical reimagining, this school year is set to multiply already gaping disparities. My son finished elementary school at our local, Title 1 public school this spring. Distance learning under emergency conditions was a challenge. For some it was especially tough. Some kids never made it to class meetings. Other students shared one device among three or more siblings. The experience highlighted the significant challenge in making remote learning equitable in a country with deep economic stratification. Read Full Story

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