Districts deliver meals and ed tech as states shut schools for 2019-2020

Bus drivers, staff and volunteers are distributing nutrition and Chromebooks
By: | March 18, 2020
Students in Virginia's Montgomery County Public Schools thank bus drivers and aides who are delivering meals, ed tech and homework while school buildings are closed due to coronavirus.Students in Virginia's Montgomery County Public Schools thank bus drivers and aides who are delivering meals, ed tech and homework while school buildings are closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus has district leaders quickly devising ways to provide school meals, ed tech and remote learning as entire states begin to order schools to shut buildings for the rest of the 2019-2020 year.

In Virginia’s Montgomery County Public Schools, bus drivers and instructional aides are delivering free meals, Chromebooks and assignment packets, Superintendent Mark Miear told District Administration on Wednesday.

The buses, which stop along their regular routes, even play music from outside speakers to let students and families know they’re coming.

Students without home Wi-Fi can give their Chromebooks to the driver, who will bring to it back to school so works can be turned in and new assignments can be loaded on to it.

The students will get the laptop back the next day when the bus brings lunch and breakfast.

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“Equity is one of our major focuses,” Miear told DA. “Every student should be getting meals and every student should have access to instruction.” Will COVID-19 require summer make-ups?

Coronavirus shuts down entire state systems

Kansas has become the first state to announce its school buildings will be closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year due to coronavirus, and California may soon follow.

“This was not an easy decision to make,” Gov. Laura Kelly said in a statement. “It came after close consultation with the education professionals who represent local school boards, school administrators and local teachers. These unprecedented circumstances threaten the safety of our students and the professionals who work with them every day and we must respond accordingly.”

However, students will continue to receive instruction. Kelly directed Kansas’ Department of Education to convene a group of experts to develop a comprehensive education plan for the remainder of the year, the statement said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsome said his state’s school buildings are likely closed for the remainder of the year.

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“Don’t anticipate schools are going to open in a week. Don’t anticipate schools are going to open in a few weeks,” Newsom said during a news conference, according to The Sacramento Bee. “I would plan and assume that it’s unlikely that many of these schools, few, if any, will open before the summer break.”

Will COVID-19 requirement summer make-ups?

Some experts are already looking to the summer to make up for lost instruction time.

Six weeks of make-up summer school could cost the nation $8.1 billion, Douglas Harris, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, told USA Today.

The money could come from a federal stimulus package, and officials should begin planning now. “Teachers can plan for it. Families can plan for it,” Harris told USA Today. “I think it would give us a bit more comfort.”

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