School and district officials are wading deeply into the process of deciding how to spend billions of new federal education dollars included in the latest COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan. Plans are emerging across the nation to tackle problems that emerged during the pandemic — and those that existed long before the virus.

Most schools are looking at a familiar set of problems as they strategize investments, including sanitization, infrastructure, and technology issues that need to be resolved to reopen classrooms. However, some are going beyond simply returning students to class and are working to identify ways that the federal stimulus can drive long term change, advance equity, and improve entire systems.

The push for bolder action as schools emerge from the pandemic is being driven in part by advocates, who say the disruption of a year of school closures and the influx of funding provide a unique opportunity to seek lasting change. Still, uncertainty persists even as waves of funding keep landing, as schools must balance an increase in federal dollars with widespread staffing shortages, unpredictable enrollment trends, and high levels of need for academic, social, and mental health interventions for students and families.

Here are nine updates from across the country about how states and school systems are confronting the challenges posed by the coronavirus emergency — and working to preserve student learning amid the pandemic:

  1. Georgia– Educators Grapple With Challenge of How to Tackle Learning Loss Amid Lack of Data
  2. Kentucky – Teachers Await Local Testing Data to Gauge Extent of Learning Loss
  3. Colorado – Khan Academy Founder Brings Free Tutoring Platform to Colorado Students
  4. Louisiana – State Agency Urges Schools to Expand Summer Learning
  5. National — As Pandemic Upends Teaching, Fewer Students Want to Pursue It
  6. New York – Expansion of Early Childhood Programs Brings Assistance to NYC Families
  7. Texas – Quarter of a Million Students Likely to Finish School Year Online Across State
  8. Missouri – Lawmaker Proposes Weakening School Vaccine Requirements Amid Pandemic
  9. DC– Summer Program to Pay Teens to Combat Learning Loss

Read the full article about COVID's impact on education by Joshua Parrish at The 74.