Bulletin Board: Advocate

Mapping COVID-19; taking action on K-12 education stabilization; new school safety resource.

Topics: Advocacy and Legislation, Pandemic Leadership

Mapping COVID-19 Cases in Schools Nationwide

While the 2020–2021 school year has begun, principals are still navigating uncertainties surrounding how COVID-19 has impacted school planning and how leaders should continue to monitor and respond to students, staff, parents, and the broader community.

District leaders and school principals still have important questions to answer: How many cases are in their community and region? For schools that have had cases, what policies did they follow (staggered arrival times, masking, hallway congestion, etc.)? How much does community spread matter in these cases? What resources are available?

NAESP is partnering with other national education organizations and researchers to create the first nationwide dashboard that systematically maps cases of COVID-19 in schools across the United States. This will allow school leaders to examine current conditions in their own schools, districts, and neighboring communities—and across the country—to adapt and make data-driven teaching and learning decisions.

The partners consist of NAESP; AASA, The School Superintendents Association; the National Association of Secondary School Principals; Brown University Professor of Economics Emily Oster; and Qualtrics, an experience management company.

This collaboration aims to close gaps in knowledge with a living hub of information that helps district and school leaders understand where COVID-19 cases are surging, how the spread of cases is impacting schools, what it means for opening and staying open, and how schools can pivot and respond quickly. Education leaders will be able to understand and take action based on data and trends across the country, creating an action plan as the academic year progresses.

Data collection started in September and will be analyzed by Qualtrics to allow education leaders and researchers to uncover trends and relationships, including information about which early indicators could predict an outbreak.

Interested in participating in data collection? Visit covidschooldashboard.com.

In Your Words

Here’s what principals had to say about reopening schools this fall:

“Normally, our community is united in providing a positive education experience for all students. Unfortunately, the politics surrounding the pandemic and equity have put a strain on some relationships. This has heightened the responsibility and stress of mediation leadership on the principals.”

“I am definitely worried about the safety and well-being of our students and staff with the reopening of school. I am also concerned about their safety and well-being if we do not return to in-person instruction. There are many students we have not seen since we began remote learning, and we are concerned about their well-being. This is going to be a difficult situation any way we slice it, and it will be challenging to balance all of the factors to meet the needs of all of our students and staff members. We need to be flexible and ready to change direction based on our individual and community situations. We also need to provide choices for our families given their special circumstances.”

Take Action

Tell Congress to support education stabilization and the E-Rate program

During economic turmoil, districts and schools need additional support to ensure that students receive high-quality instruction and services to support their social, emotional, and mental health needs. The next coronavirus relief package should include an investment of at least $175 billion in funding for K–12 education stabilization.

In addition to meeting these growing needs, the federal funding is needed to help bolster state and local budgets, which will see growing shortfalls due to the pandemic. In the short term, the funds will help schools address school staffing, student meal delivery, and distance learning. Significant federal support will also be needed to stave off layoffs, bolster internet access for remote learning, and help students continue to receive nutritious meals.

Visit NAESP’s Legislative Action Center to make your voice heard. Tell Congress to step up and give the nation’s public schools the resources necessary to support learning.


New Resource Alert

The National Center for School Safety is a one-stop shop for resources on keeping schools safe and kids healthy. At its site, you can engage with school safety practitioners from across the nation and learn about implementing and evaluating school safety initiatives. NAESP is a contributing partner, and the trainings are self-paced, so you can access and complete them when you have time. www.nc2s.org

Did You Know?

16.9 million: The number of students who remain logged out because they don’t have internet at home. Learn more about the homework gap from Future Ready Schools, and use its interactive internet access map to find information by race, income, and location. futureready.org/homework-gap

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