A multidisciplinary team of Johns Hopkins researchers has launched a new website that provides a range of tools dedicated to assessing and guiding K-12 school reopening plans across the United States, including a School Reopening Policy Tracker that provides
real-time analysis of the latest guidance documents from every state.
According to researchers from the JHU eSchool+ Initiative, all state boards of education and 13 national policy organizations have issued policy guidance about reopening K-12 schools. Equity issues are the crux of a safe return for low-income children and children who are people of color, and yet, one-third of reopening plans do not mention equity considerations for these student groups at all, and most others mention them with little detail.
“Schools are a nexus of health and well-being for children, particularly in less resourced communities, where the burdens of the pandemic are being borne disproportionately,” says Wilmer Institute ophthalmologist Megan Collins, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions.
“While schools will be monitoring the COVID-19 ‘learning slide,’ what is missing is an eye on equity for disadvantaged groups. Even as education and public health leaders advocate for making classroom-based education a priority for those children most at risk of missing school, there is no clear guidance from school districts about how structural justice problems should be addressed. By creating the eSchool+ Initiative, we hope to contribute to ongoing discussions about narrowing health and academic equity gaps for disadvantaged students.” Jamie Smith