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COVID-19

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted American education in myriad ways: Nearly every school system across the country shut down, school leaders and districts tried to quickly pivot to online instruction, and organizations grappled with how to support students’ and families’ basic needs. Looking forward, nearly every aspect of education faces uncertainty: School operations and instruction are being fundamentally reconsidered, an unfolding recession will have a profound impact on state budgets, and policies on everything from school accountability to student grades must adapt to the consequences of the novel coronavirus. Schools must also be attentive to students’ general health and well-being.

The pandemic is exposing the deep inequities in every corner of the American education system. The painful consequences of COVID-19 will be felt most acutely by the students and families furthest from opportunity — the same students who were chronically underserved by public education even before the crisis took hold, due to race, socioeconomic status, or geography. At Bellwether, our goal throughout this uncertain time is to find solutions, amplify best practices and successful models, and work with the partners who will help rebuild a better system in the long run.

Since the crisis began, Bellwether has consistently worked to understand what is happening, what is coming, and what is needed across the education system. Within days of school doors shutting, we made our time available pro bono to school districts and charter school networks and published resources and analyses to support those in the field. As the education system resets and rebuilds — a process we anticipate taking several months — we’ll be defining solutions on content delivery, distance learning, quality child care, and school operations, among others.

The content below reflects the resources and research we’ve put out in response to the novel coronavirus. We’ll be updating this regularly.

Publications

April 7, 2020
Tresha Ward, Stephanie Spangler, Katie Rouse, Eleisha Nelson-Reed
The past few weeks have been uniquely challenging for education and nonprofit leaders across the country as they navigate the unfolding coronavirus...

Op-Eds

May 17, 2020
Working with stakeholders around the country has made me certain only about uncertainty. The impact of COVID-19 in a few months or a few years seems...
May 13, 2020
Margaret Spellings discusses best- and worst-case scenarios in response to the coronavirus, what businesses should do to help schools, and advice for...
May 9, 2020
Andy Rotherham discusses how blended learning options where students are split up for classroom learning for a few days a week and online for the...

Issue Experts

To speak to one of our teammates with expertise on running a school or organization in light of COVID-19, contact us here.

Blog Posts

July 29, 2020
Juliet Squire and Alex Spurrier
Born out of desperation, families across the country are looking outside the school system for safe educational options for their children...
July 16, 2020
Hailly Korman
Schools closed in March in order to give federal and state governments the time to implement a public health response to COVID-19. They...
July 16, 2020
Alex Spurrier
This spring presented a massive challenge to educators, students, and families. A global pandemic caught our schools by surprise and forced...