How an unprecedented, indefinite crisis forced education leaders to change the ways school districts operate

Snowstorms. Hurricanes. Shootings. Educators and the students they serve have long been at the mercy of crises; most have some sort of plan for disasters.

But with coronavirus, a new national emergency forced districts to rewrite their playbooks. While it’s obvious how COVID-19 changed the structure of school, what’s less known is how districts had to overhaul their operations.

To continue working safely, they had to change, and fast: Lengthy in-person meetings went online, where districts had more control over interactions and public input. Transparency laws changed. Some districts, like Seattle Public Schools, enabled superintendents to spend large sums of money without bureaucracy through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. And many local districts did not let reporters observe their first days of classes, citing privacy concerns and technical issues.

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Schooling solutions amid COVID-19

This story was produced with support from the Education Writers Association

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