5 reasons why some schools were ready for COVID shutdown

Principals who felt more prepared also reported fewer concerns about equity
By: | September 29, 2020
(GettyImages/Laura Olivas)

Five factors were good indicators of how successfully principals and their schools transitioned to online learning when COVID shut down classrooms in the spring.

Only a minority of school leaders were ready were a COVID-level crisis, according to new research from The Rand Corporation.

Principals felt more confident about student success after the shift to remote instruction depending on how many of the following preparedness indicators their schools had in place before the pandemic:

  • Provided devices to students who needed them.
  • Trained teachers on delivering online instruction
  • Used a learning management system.
  • Provided fully-online or blended courses.
  • Established plans to deliver instruction during a prolonged school closure.

More from DA: How a Texas district conquered internet dead zones to connect kids

Principals who felt more prepared also reported fewer concerns about equity, according to The Rand Corporation’s American Educator Panels.

These principals also said that their teachers were more comfortable issuing letter grades to students during online learning.

Among the report’s other key findings:

  • Most schools had some of the above preparedness indicators in place, but most had not implemented all of them.
  • 84% of principals reported that their school had at least one preparedness indicators in place pre-pandemic.
  • 7% reported having implemented all five indicators.
  • Secondary schools were more likely than elementary schools to have these preparations in place.
  • Schools were most likely to have provided students with devices.
  • Schools were least likely to have developed a plan for a prolonged closure.

The report also found the principals in more-prepared schools:

  • Were more likely to assign letter grades to students.
  • Had less concern about failing to provide equitable instruction to all students.
  • Were less likely to predict lower achievement for low-income and homeless students.

More from DA: 100 school leaders identify the biggest challenges this year

DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.

Interested in edtech? Keep up with DA's Future of Education Technology Conference®.