Eleven months after schools across the United States, and the world, first shifted to remote learning, many students are still learning in remote or hybrid settings and available data has consistently shown significant learning loss. In fact, McKinsey & Company concluded that American students could lose an average of five to nine months of learning by the end of June. While the public largely agrees something must be done to combat the impact on learning, consensus on how best to tackle the challenge has yet to emerge.

Here are a couple of ways that states and school systems are confronting the challenges posed by the coronavirus emergency — and working to preserve student learning amid the pandemic:

IOWA – District Launches Permanent Virtual Schooling Option Available For All Students:
Sioux City Community Schools Superintendent Paul Gausman announced that the district will offer a permanent virtual learning option for all K-12 Iowa students starting August 2021, citing likely continued demand and parent comments that some students did better in a virtual or hybrid learning environment than in a traditional school setting. Students who enroll in the virtual school will receive a laptop and will take Common Core-aligned classes taught by certified district teachers.

MINNESOTA – Governor Says Some High School Seniors Could Be Automatically Accepted to State Colleges:
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has proposed that qualifying high school seniors who meet agreed-upon academic benchmarks be automatically accepted into some local colleges and universities through a new admissions program called “Direct Admissions Minnesota”. The governor included $35 million in his recent state budget plan for the program, with officials and advocates saying the investment in students could help increase college access in the state and potentially remedy some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ educational and economic prospects.

TEXAS – Bill in Legislature Would Require Mental Health Course for High School Students:
A series of bills being considered in the Texas legislature would expand the state’s focus on mental health education in schools by requiring students to take a course in mental health in high school, requiring training on “trauma-informed school care,” and would additionally require districts to begin tracking incidences of bullying and cyberbullying. The set of bills builds on the 2017 “David’s Law” that many credit with a 23% decline in the youth suicide rate in the state. The proposals follow a similar trend of state legislatures including mental health concerns in their education priorities amid the pandemic.

Read the full article about education during the pandemic by Joshua Parrish at The 74.