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How will COVID-19 school closures impact Georgia’s most vulnerable students?

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**** Updated: March 27, 2020 ****

How are COVID-19 school closures in Georgia and around the nation likely to impact our students who are already vulnerable and far behind academically? 

We’ve pulled together this blog post to help you better understand what’s happening in real-time and offer some basic principles all of us can embrace as we continue to advocate for students. 

READ: 6 Principles to Help Vulnerable Students During COVID-19 School Closures >>

We will be updating this post as the facts on the ground change, so check back often.

FAST FACTS: GEORGIA SCHOOL CLOSURES

Background:

On Monday, March 16, Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order closing all Georgia schools from Wednesday, March 18 through Tuesday, March 31. Some Georgia districts had closed earlier and some districts have already announced they will be closed longer than the state order.

Update: Statewide school closures have been extended until at least April 24th.

RELEVANT LINKS:

What to expect:

Distance Learning: The Georgia Department of Education is advising school districts to develop a plan to continue student learning during school closures, if possible — using resources such as study packets, cable access, virtual school/online classes, etc. Educational leaders should plan for flexibility and equity for​ all students in their digital learning day strategy.

Standardized Testing: On March 16, Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods suspended the state assessment window along with teacher and leader evaluation requirements and state-level, attendance-related consequences. Educators, parents, and students can expect that no state testing – to include Georgia Milestones, GAA 2.0, and GKIDS – will be administered in Georgia this year.

Student Food Insecurity: Meals are available for students using bus routes or at approved sites within the community on a district by district basis. Click here for a list of school meal information by school districts compiled by Georgia Public Broadcasting, or check your local school district’s website and social media accounts. 

Graduation Requirements: On Thursday, March 26, the Georgia State Board of Education waived a series of state rules and laws in moves that will let school districts graduate seniors and promote other students even if coursework is incomplete.

Legislative + Federal Action: 

Georgia: The entire Georgia General Assembly is under quarantine orders after one of its members tested positive for coronavirus. In a special session on Monday, March 16, members ratified Governor Kemp’s emergency declaration. It is currently unknown when or whether the General Assembly will reconvene this year.

Congress: The US House of Representatives passed a relief bill that features provisions for K-12 Public Schools including $50B directly provided to states to help stabilize school funding. The Senate bill, passed on March 25th, includes only $13.5B for K-12 schools, with the bulk of that money going to school districts based on the number of students that qualify for Title I federal aid.

Department of Education: The U.S. Department of Education announced broad flexibility for states in waiving federal testing requirements and clarified that federal law “should not be used to prevent schools from offering distance learning opportunities to all students, including students with disabilities.”

March 24, 2020
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The Expectations Project
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