6 Ways Schools Are Stepping Up: Coronavirus News and Tools

ByJulie Rawe

Everyone keeps talking about how schools are closed, but that wording isn’t quite right. School buildings are closed, but teachers keep teaching. In a shout-out to schools and teachers everywhere, this coronavirus roundup highlights a few of the ways schools are stepping up during the pandemic.

Also included: new community groups for families, a new resource for special education teachers, and a smart take on how COVID-19 is speeding up the “inclusion revolution” in the workplace.

6 Ways Schools Are Stepping Up

  1. Giving students laptops and wireless hotspots: New Orleans is one of many school districts that has started providing laptops and wireless hotspots so students can access distance learning.
  2. Using school buses to deliver Wi-Fi access and food: Wi-Fi-enabled buses are helping students download and upload assignments—and pick up meals and paper packets, too.
  3. Partnering with public TV: As some school districts align their lesson plans with upcoming PBS shows, other districts are producing new programming on local TV stations.
  4. Easing restrictions on teletherapy: States like Kentucky are making it easier for schools and other organizations to provide speech therapy and other services on video platforms.
  5. Prioritizing mental health: School districts like the one in Parma, Ohio, are making counselors available to their entire student body for kids experiencing pandemic anxiety.
  6. Providing grief counseling: Schools like the Mary Louis Academy in New York City are making grief counselors available to students when faculty members pass away from COVID-19.

New Understood Community Groups

Understood just launched two new communities. Privacy settings for the groups mean that only fellow members can see who’s in the group and what they post:

  • A Facebook group where you can connect with other families who know what it’s like to raise a child who learns and thinks differently
  • A COVID-19 Resources & Support group on Understood where you can get urgent questions answered by families like yours and by our team of experts

New Resource for Special Education Teachers

Understood is proud to partner with Educating All Learners, a coalition committed to sharing free resources to help meet the needs of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The site includes:

  • Practical tools, tricks, and resources for students who need extra support in the era of remote learning
  • Technology that can help meet the needs of students with IEPs
  • Detailed examples from educators about how they’re moving from face-to-face to at-a-distance learning
  • Events and webinars

The “Inclusion Revolution”

The World Economic Forum is shining a light on how the rapid shift to working from home could benefit people with disabilities. “What I call the ‘inclusion revolution’ has been gaining more and more momentum,” writes disability rights advocate Caroline Casey. “Many of the practices we’ve seen so quickly drafted in over the last month are the same ones that allow those with disabilities to not only participate, but to thrive, in business.”

Get more coronavirus updates and tips for people who learn and think differently.

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About the author

About the author

Julie Rawe is the special projects editor at Understood.