ExcelinEd is providing an ongoing roundup of creative solutions states and districts are taking to meet the education needs of their students affected by school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We value your help in sharing these solutions so policymakers and state leaders can learn from each other. Please forward this information to your state leaders who are seeking solutions and send us your state’s or school district’s innovative efforts for us to amplify and share nationally.
New Jersey Provides Financial Support to Clean Schools
As part of their emergency relief bills, the New Jersey Assembly approved $20 million for the Department of Education to support increased facility cleaning and sanitization of all public, charter and private schools.
Florida Using University Students and Faculty to Aid Tracking of Coronavirus Spread
In an unprecedented gathering of resources, the state has recruited 100 professors and students from five universities to help the state understand the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and how it’s spreading, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times on March 18. The professors and students are being hired part-time to do what epidemiologists do: interview people with coronavirus about their history and symptoms, trace their contacts and enter that information into databases. They will be working in coordination with the Florida Department of Health’s 264 infectious disease epidemiologists, but they will not be going out in the field to interview coronavirus patients. Instead, they’ll be conducting interviews by phone.
Illinois Statewide Survey of Parents and Students
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) administered a Student Health and E-Learning Survey, which revealed that most districts in Illinois have barriers to providing e-learning. To follow-up on this, the ISBE conducted a technology needs survey to better understand what school districts need to move to a 1:1 environment at all grade levels and to provide online instruction to students. This survey was open to all preK-12 public and private schools in Illinois. ISBE is working with the Governor’s Office to explore opportunities within the philanthropic community to ensure that every public school in Illinois has the technology needed to provide e-learning to all students in the immediate future, should the mandated school closure need to extend beyond the March 30 date the Governor set.