Table of Contents

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Resource Center for K-12 Education

Hanover Research is closely monitoring developments surrounding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and how it has and may continue to impact K-12 school districts. This resource center provides you with key facts, resources, and potential responses to this rapidly evolving situation.

How We Can Help

Hanover is committed to assisting its K-12 schools and districts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This section provides an overview of projects that can provide insight into the current and rapidly evolving situation and help plan for future public health and other emergencies that may disrupt normal school schedules and functions.

Research Library Reports

Our syndicated Research Library contains numerous reports that can help inform your district’s response to COVID-19 – below are some of the most relevant reports. To access our member-only reports, contact us today.

Operational Planning

Additional Resources Available to Hanover Members:

Social-Emotional Learning

Additional Resources Available to Hanover Members:

Learning Loss

Additional Resources Available to Hanover Members:

Online Learning

Additional Resources Available to Hanover Members:

Custom Research Solutions

Strategic Priority: Managing School Closures

Stakeholder Pulse Survey

Hanover can administer a survey to assess effectiveness of district services during school closures. The survey can be administered on a weekly basis, and findings can be tracked over multiple iterations.

Key questions the survey can answer include:

  • To what extent is the district meeting the academic needs of students and their families (e.g., online learning support, other educational resources, access to teachers and staff)?
  • To what extent is the district meeting the social-emotional needs of students and their families (e.g., mental health services, connectedness)?
  • To what extent is the district supporting staff (e.g., frequent and effective communication, professional development, mental health services)?
  • To what extent is the district supporting families (e.g., frequent and effective communication, food services, childcare)?
Blackboard Focus Groups

Hanover can run virtual focus groups to assess the effectiveness of professional development districts have provided to support teachers’ online instruction during school closures.

Key questions the virtual focus groups can answer include:

  • How are teachers applying what they learned in the professional development?
  • What additional training or resources do teachers need to effectively support their students?
Benchmarking Study of End-of-Year Practices and Planning

Hanover can review publicly-available information to help districts understand how peer districts have adjusted end-of-year procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key questions the benchmarking study can answer include:

  • How are peer districts managing grading practices through the end of the school year?
  • How are peer districts planning for graduation?
  • What impact will school closures have on peer districts’ summer school programming?
  • How are peer districts communicating these plans and practices to their stakeholders?

Hanover can create educational infographics to help districts manage “information overload” among parents and the broader community.

Key questions the infographics can answer include:

  • Which information is crucial for the district to communicate to various stakeholder groups?
  • How can the district synthesize messages to parents, in particular?

Strategic Priority: Assessing and Addressing the Impact of School Closures

Stakeholder Perceptions Survey

Hanover can administer a survey to assess stakeholder reactions to school closures. Survey findings will enable districts to direct supports toward the most impacted students and prepare for future school closures.

Key questions the survey can answer include:

  • How do students, parents, and staff view the district’s handling of school closures?
  • How do students, parents, and staff perceive their experience with distance learning?
  • Which students and parents have found school closures, in general, and distance learning, in particular, most challenging?
  • How can the district manage school closures more effectively in the future?
Student Learning Loss Analysis

Using student-level data, Hanover can analyze the extent to which academic outcomes in fall 2020 differ from fall 2019. The results will assist districts in planning instruction and academic interventions during 2020-21 to compensate for any learning loss associated with school closures, as well as summer learning loss.

Key questions the data analysis can answer include:

  • How do fall 2020 academic outcomes compare with fall 2019 at the district, school, and grade levels?
  • How do any observed differences in academic outcomes vary across student groups (e.g., by gender, race/ethnicity, language proficiency)?

Benchmarking Extended Closure Impact Survey Dashboard

Our dynamic impact tracker summarizes the findings of our COVID-19 Needs Survey, administered to K-12 parents and teachers to understand how they perceive the impacts of extended school closures.

If you’re an existing client, please access Hanover Digital for the full dashboard.

The Latest Information About COVID-19

Key facts:

According to Johns Hopkins:

  • Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
  • COVID-19 first appeared in China in December 2019.
  • Symptoms include cough, fever, and shortness of breath; the virus can be spread from person-to-person. Though rare, some cases have resulted in death.
  • COVID-19 is diagnosed via a laboratory test. There is no coronavirus vaccine yet.
  • Prevention includes frequent and thorough handwashing, coughing into a tissue or the bend of your elbow, and staying home if you are ill.
  • Global map of locations with confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • U.S. map of states reporting cases of COVID-19 to the CDC

CDC Guidelines

According to the CDC, districts and schools should take the following steps (verbatim):

At all times…
  • Encourage your staff or community members to protect their personal health;
  • Post the signs and symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, shortness of breath;
  • Encourage people to stay home when sick;
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched—things such as shared desks, countertops, kitchen areas, electronics, and doorknobs;
  • Limit events and meetings that require close contact;
  • Stay up-to-date on developments in your community;
  • Create an emergency plan for possible outbreak; and
  • Assess if community members are at higher risk and plan accordingly.
During an outbreak in your area:
  • Send home or separate anyone who becomes sick;
  • If you identify a case, inform people who might have been exposed;
  • Continue to safely clean and disinfect the person’s area;
  • Connect with your local health departments;
  • Cancel large meetings or events; and
  • Put your infectious disease outbreak plan into action.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker

Understand the prevalence of COVID-19 when considering decisions about your reopening with our dashboard, presenting county- and state-level statistics on COVID-19 cases and testing.

Guidance for K-12 Organizations

Follow Guidance Issued by the U.S. Department of Education and Select State Education Agencies

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and various state education agencies have issued explicit directives and guidance to support K-12 schools and districts during the COVID-19 outbreak. This guidance should be the first reference point when making decisions or implementing responsive actions. Referring to these agencies will be especially important as emergency and other measures to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 are implemented at the federal and state levels, including items related to K-12 education in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Education Stabilization Fund it establishes. School districts should also review any recommendations or mandated actions from their state departments of education related to the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.

Example guidance from several states and the U.S. ED is provided below.

Sample of Available Information
U.S. Department of Education
Arizona Department of Education
California Department of Education
Florida Department of Education
Georgia Department of Education
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Maryland Department of Education
Michigan Department of Education
New York State Education Department
Ohio Department of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Texas Education Agency
Virginia Department of Education
Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Adapted from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Checklist for Administrators”.

Review and Update Emergency Operations Plans

Districts and schools should examine, update, and utilize existing emergency plans for infectious disease outbreaks. Importantly, these plans should emphasize strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19 infections such as appropriate personal hygiene procedures (e.g., handwashing), staff and students remaining at home when sick, and sanitation of frequently touched surfaces in school buildings.

The CDC also recommends collaboration with local boards of education and childcare licensing organizations to review current plans and update and implement the provisions of those plans as necessary. Likewise, districts and schools should share emergency plans with students, staff, and families to raise awareness.

To support development of effective emergency plans during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond, the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center provides two guidance documents:

To support immediate preventive actions outlined by existing plans or within updated ones, the CDC publishes recommendations for:

Webinar Recording – Navigating Professional Learning in a Virtual Environment

In our recent webinar, our panel of professional development experts discussed how districts can support teachers’ professional learning and growth in a virtual environment. Watch now for emerging research on professional development frameworks, best practices for supporting your teachers’ learning, and more. 

Communicate Actively with Stakeholders

Districts and schools should establish communication strategies to share resources and information about COVID-19 and their responses to it with students, families, staff, and community partners. Effective communication will help to limit the spread of misinformation, and many organizations already have documentation that educational leaders can model their communications after instead of creating new materials.

Importantly, communications with students and other stakeholders should be honest, calm, and reassuring and avoid language or connotations of blaming any racial or ethnic group for the outbreak, particularly Chinese American and other Asian students.

A number of educational agencies and public health organizations have materials that districts and schools can model or use directly in their communications with stakeholders. These include:

Ensure wide dissemination of emergency operations plans and responses

Communications should emphasize any existing emergency operations plans and procedures and recent updates made to those plans due to the COVD-19 outbreak. As the situation develops, districts and schools should use rapid communications tools—such as text messaging, emails, mass automated calling, social media, and websites—to outline emergency procedures and to answer questions that students, staff, and families may have.

Sample websites and social media tools dedicated to COVID-19 emergency operations plans and procedures that districts and schools may model include:

Sample Webpage
Notable Features
Boston Public Schools (MA)
  • Free breakfast and lunch locations listing
  • Chromebook request form and usage information
  • Digital learning resources for students and families
  • Technology resources
  • Mental health resources
Cleveland Metropolitan School District (OH)
  • Learning opportunities
  • Academic enrichment
  • Food and basic needs
  • Health and government resources
  • Record of past messages to community
  • Social emotional wellness
  • Family engagement
  • Internet access assistance
Fairfax County Public Schools (VA)
  • Summary of the current situation
  • Daily updates from the district
  • Fact sheets and video resources about COVID-19
  • Distance learning plan
  • Mental health and community resources
  • Food resources
  • Record of superintendent’s messages to the community
  • Links to third-party COVID-19 resources
San Francisco Unified School District (CA)
  • Family and Staff News Digests
  • SFUSD distance learning plan
  • Family and student supports
  • Technology resources for families
  • Frequently asked questions

Plan for and Communicate Large Increases in Absenteeism

Make accommodations for students who fall ill, such as submitting assignments electronically or extended due dates, and alert local health officials about significant increases in student, staff, and faculty respiratory illness. Individuals who are ill should be sent to/remain in their place of residence and avoid contact with others.

School Closure Logistics

After consultation with local health officials, district and school leaders may be faced with the decision to close schools, presenting an additional set of challenges to navigate. This challenge has become more prominent in recent days with statewide school closures in 46 states (and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and with explicit guidance from the Executive Branch and CDC to “[w]ork or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.” Reflecting on solutions to these challenges and planning ahead will help to limit disruptions to students, staff, and families resulting from COVID-19.

This challenge has become more prominent due to statewide school closures—some of which are set to extend through what would have been the end of the 2019-20 school year—and with explicit guidance from the executive branch and CDC to “[w]ork or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.” To support districts’ efforts to share knowledge and information, the Center for Reinventing Public Education has created a database of district plans to address COVID-19 closures (available here).

Two key questions to consider in the event of school closures include the following:

How Do We Ensure Continuity of Education?

District and schools should take steps to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning when school campuses are closed, likely through the use of digital e-learning or distance learning plans. This means that educational leaders will need to prepare teachers with resources and training to convert in-person lessons to online or distance learning while also ensuring that students have access to the appropriate resources and technologies to complete online or distance learning tasks.

The U.S Department of Education (ED) provides recommendations to maintain continuity of education during extended periods of student absence or school closures that districts and schools can reference. The department’s What Works Clearinghouse has also begun compiling studies of the effectiveness of different distance education practices.

However, districts and schools may need to consult with the U.S. ED and their state education agency to discuss possible exemptions from requirements related to minimum instructional hours and/or state testing. Regarding state testing, the U.S. ED has commenced a process by which state education agencies can request waivers for mandated testing for the 2019-20 school year due to closures resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

How Do We Maintain Student Access to Meal Programs and Essential Medical and Social Services?

Districts and schools should develop a plan to distribute food to students who need it while avoiding strategies involving large gatherings. The CDC highlights “grab-and-go” lunches and delivered meals as alternatives. Likewise, the CDC notes that districts and schools, in collaboration with their state’s Title V Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Program, should continue to provide essential services and support to students with specialized health needs.

Information on feeding children during school closures is available via the U.S. Department of Agriculture (link here).

It is important to remember that the current outbreak of COVID-19 is an evolving situation, and guidance from national, state, and local health and educational agencies may change as the pandemic develops and the number of confirmed cases rises. Consequently, some of the resources and guidance in this document may be revised to reflect new developments, and hyperlinks to third-party resources may become non-functional as new versions are published. As such, Hanover Research will be updating this document periodically to ensure timeliness and accuracy of information.

COVID-19 Field Guide

Get the resources you need to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 and craft your K-12 education response strategy with our complete field guide.

Continue to Stay Informed

Use reputable resources to stay abreast of recent developments in the COVID-19 situation.

Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions for K-12 Education

Get answers to the top questions K-12 education leaders are asking about COVID-19.

These FAQs are a summary from our Weekly Superintendents Leadership Council Q&A sessions. These sessions provide an opportunity for district leaders to share strategies and perspectives related to school closures, remote learning, and community support amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interested in joining the conversation? Register here!

Additional Resources