- An ongoing review of the nation's 100 large and urban school systems by the Center on Reinventing Public Education shows many school systems have adjusted remote learning policies in rapid form to address learning for students quarantined due to COVID-19 cases and close contacts with those infected.
- The review shows that, as of Thursday, slightly more than half of the districts that have policies describing learning expectations for students in quarantine said they will provide take-home assignments or asynchronous assignments accessible on a remote learning platform. Fourteen districts have pledged to provide live, synchronous lessons.
- Facing pressure to open schools fully for in-person learning in order to accelerate learning and address the social and emotional needs of students, school systems are struggling to respond to days or weeks-long student absences. As of Aug. 26, about 90,000 students in 19 states have had to quarantine so far this school year, The Hill reports.
School systems' protocols for learning during COVID-19 student quarantines across the country vary greatly, according to CRPE’s database and research. For example:
- Vermont’s Champlain Valley Public Schools is offering instruction if entire classes need to be quarantined but not to individually quarantined students.
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida will provide simultaneous instruction for quarantined students so they can learn alongside their on-campus peers.
- Atlanta Public Schools in Georgia will provide afterschool tutors to quarantined students. The school system also plans to provide virtual instruction if whole classes or schools are quarantined or there is an outbreak.
School systems also have disparate approaches to more permanent remote learning options, ranging from some not offering any options to some setting caps on the number of students who can enroll.
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fully vaccinated staff and students in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic, but should wear a mask for the next 14 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test.
For students under the age of 12 who don’t yet have access to vaccinations and for others who are unvaccinated, CDC recommends they quarantine between 7 to 14 days based on local or personal circumstances.
The CDC issued updated operational guidance for school systems on Tuesday, and at the local level, health departments and school systems are coordinating on the use of quarantines to keep school communities safe while not impeding in-person learning efforts.
The Jefferson County Health Department in Missouri updated its quarantine policy this week to allow students who have come in close contact at school with someone infected with COVID-19 to continue in-person learning as long as they wear masks and a school’s case threshold is low enough.
CRPE is also tracking vaccine and masking policies and noted an increase in the number of districts that require vaccinations for staff and more districts strengthening masking policies. Of the districts under CRPE review, 89% require some or all students at school to wear masks.