The large-scale closing of schools to protect against the spread of Covid-19 will have a vast negative impact on students and schools.
One hopes that these closures, part of a widespread effort to implement “social distancing,” will yield the intended effect of slowing the spread of the virus. But nothing comes without a cost, and students will bear many of those here. As our political and educational leaders move beyond the immediate public health needs, they will have to deal with the short- and long-term consequences of these closures.
Implementation and effects of virtual learning
In the short term, bullish expectations about the value of remote learning need to be tempered. While things will go fine in some schools and families, others will face major hurdles.
Schools that have been using iPads and laptops in lieu of print books for years will be best suited to weather the current challenge without much disruption to learning. Their students already have the technology at their fingertips, their schools have the necessary software in place, and their teachers are well versed in the use of these tools.
But the schools that are trying to ramp up remote learning quickly in the midst of this crisis are unlikely to see smooth sailing. Equipment will have to be distributed to students who lack it; teachers will need to upload lessons and assignments to new systems; and those systems will have to undergo quality control while they are being used.
Ray Domanico is a senior fellow and director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute. He is the author of the new report, “NYC Student Achievement: What State and National Test Scores Reveal.”
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