While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, school children have faced a uniquely difficult set of disruptions, from canceled SAT exams to remote learning at the dining room table. These changes have caused some children to fall behind and sparked worries about mental health. And remote learning highlighted the shortage of technology and WiFi for some families. However, some students have flourished, prompting conversations about the role of remote learning in a post-COVID world. Let’s look at the evolution of the education system since quarantine began.
Which states have reopened schools?
School reopening is done on a state-by-state basis. States which have ordered the reopening of schools include Arkansas, Florida, Iowa and Texas. In West Virginia, elementary and middle schools were state-ordered to reopen, with high schools remaining remote. California, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii and New Mexico have partial closures or hybrid situations, which vary widely state-by-state. Puerto Rico has a full closure in place. For the remainder of the states, districts make their own decisions with no state-wide order in place. For the most up-to-date information, it is best to check with your local school district.
College admissions and standardized testing
Another dramatic change has been the waiving of standardized testing for most college admission requirements. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in application rates for the top universities in the U.S., causing them to push back the admissions announcement day. More than 57,000 students have applied to Harvard this year – a jump of 42% more applicants than last year – making admissions more competitive than ever before.
The future of remote learning
It’s been a difficult year for many students, and remote learning’s long-term consequences remain to be seen. But quarantine has opened up the possibility of remote learning as a supplement, particularly for children who have medical or other conditions that make remote learning preferable. Utilizing remote learning as a supplement could also benefit future in-person students who might be interested in taking a language or other course not offered by their school. The deprioritization of standardized testing for college admissions might also lead to more equitable admissions and opportunities at top universities.
What will our education system look like in a year?