Coronavirus has closed schools across the country, and these school closings will likely last for weeks or months. While school closures are essential to fight the pandemic, teachers are worried about the impact this will have on their students' learning and are working on new, creative strategies to teach from afar.
DonorsChoose, the classroom funding site for public school teachers, surveyed over 4,000 educators in the highest need communities across the US about their concerns, challenges, and needs for students during the coronavirus crisis.
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Nearly every teacher we surveyed is worried about their students' learning being set back by coronavirus school closings, but their concerns vary widely based on the unique situations in every school. Overall, teachers estimate that 68% of their students lack sufficient resources to learn from home while schools are closed.
Students can’t log on
Over half of the surveyed teachers cited a lack of technology and internet access as the main need for their students right now while schools are closed.
“My biggest concern is that many of my students do not have access to... reliable internet to complete e-learning,” writes Ms. Paulson from Illinois. “We are printing out packets for those without internet, but I’m worried that this is only a short term solution.”
Remote learning is difficult even in the best of circumstances, but nearly impossible for students without reliable internet access at home.
Missing books and basics
Getting books home to students was a major concern for 40% of teachers, and 28% were worried about basics like pencils and paper.
Many teachers were caught off guard by the speed at which the situation is changing. For Ms. Cutler in New Jersey, “Not knowing when things will return to a normal learning environment makes me feel I did not send them home with enough tools and supplies to grow their brains.”
This crisis came on so quickly; teachers didn’t get a chance to stock up in advance on paper, pencils, and books to send home with their students.
Kids can’t learn on an empty stomach
Technology and supplies aren’t the only challenges. Schools also play a major role in keeping students fed and safe during the day. With schools closed, teachers are worried about their students dealing with an empty stomach and instability at home. Over 40% told us that making sure their students have food was one of their top needs.
“My biggest concern is the stability in my students' lives right now,” says Mrs. White, a teacher in Ohio. “They receive two meals a day at school, plus a fresh fruit or vegetable as a snack. They come to school to learn but also for the connection and routine that we can provide for them.”
You can help teachers keep kids learning
Teachers in high need communities already faced huge challenges in educating students, and DonorsChoose is dedicated to getting those teachers what they need most. Usually, funded supplies are shipped directly to classrooms in need. With schools closed, we’ve launched Keep Kids Learning, a new program that empowers teachers to get supplies directly to students at home.