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New Survey Results – When and How Are State Leaders Thinking About Reopening Schools?

• Patricia Levesque

It has been two months since the COVID-19 pandemic altered nearly every aspect of our lives. The pandemic has revealed stories of heroism, humanity and innovation, yet also exposed systemic inefficiencies and inequities. As a nation, we have been forced to reflect on the strengths and challenges inherent in the pre-COVID status quo while also anxiously imagining what the “new normal” means for ourselves, our families and our communities. This is especially true in education.

State and local education leaders have spent the past two months focused on quickly pivoting to remote and virtual learning and providing students with wraparound supports for the remainder of this school year. However, they have also been considering what education could look like for the 2020-21 school year and beyond.

It’s clear that decisions about reopening schools cannot be made in isolation. We learn more every day about the public health considerations of COVID-19 and the role schools might play in increasing or mitigating the impact of the virus on communities and populations within communities. At the same time, when and how schools resume is inextricably linked to efforts to “reopen” state and local economies in terms of parents’ ability to work outside the home. The rate and level of quality of student instruction during the pandemic has varied widely across the nation, states, regions and even from neighborhood to neighborhood; educators and parents are understandably concerned about the short- and long-term impacts of potential learning loss and missing student support.

About the author

Patricia Levesque @levesquepat

Patricia is the Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She served as Governor Jeb Bush’s deputy chief of staff for education, enterprise solutions for government, minority procurement, and business and professional regulation. Previously, Patricia served six years in the Florida Legislature in the Speakers Office and as staff director over education policy. Contact Patricia at