If the mid-March switch to distance learning started an academic slide, what will it take to regain students’ lost ground?

That’s a question Oklahoma education officials, like those around the country, are grappling with. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said this week the department is beginning to plan what will be needed to reopen schools based on “multiple scenarios.” And she suggested that despite the current distance-learning effort, students generally will suffer a loss in academic progress: “The next phase focuses on recovery of the ground lost amid the crisis.”

Hofmeister added, “What will be required of our state to open a new school year will be a heavy lift and very different than closing out the spring semester.”

She has offered no specifics, at least not publicly. And the options will be affected by how much federal emergency funding will fill the hole left by a budget and economic crisis. But education officials and governors in other states are floating ideas like summer school, an extended academic year and changes to curriculum and class structure.

Here’s a roundup of news reports on ideas being explored elsewhere and the financial factors.

Education Leaders Conclude Millions of Students Will Suffer
In Miami, school will extend into the summer and start earlier in the fall, at least for some students. In Cleveland, schools may shrink the curriculum to cover only core subjects. In Columbia, Mo., this year’s lessons will be woven into next year’s … The Washington Post

Teachers Union Calls for Nationwide Summer School
Some educators are concerned about students falling behind. That’s why one of the country’s largest teachers’ unions is calling for students to attend summer school … NewsChannel5 Nashville

Five Concrete Ideas for Helping Students Catch Up
Research offers a number of concrete ideas for helping students respond, from changing how the next school year is structured to making sure students don’t lose access to mental health professionals … Chalkbeat

What schools are able to do depends on finances:

Stitt Receives Federal Grant for Education
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt will receive nearly $40 million to support education from a federal emergency block grant. Stitt will determine how to distribute the grant among public schools, charter schools, private schools, post-secondary institutions and education-related organizations … The Oklahoman. At a news conference Friday, Stitt said he is considering using the funds on Advanced Placement courses in rural areas and the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program, which exchanges tax credits for donations to private school scholarships.

Drastic Cuts to Schools Could Happen This Summer
Significant cuts to public school spending could some as soon as this summer, an acceleration of the fiscal pain that analysts had already been forecasting for K-12 education … Education Week.

Summer in NYC: Camps, Pools, More Face Cuts
As New York City students lament the loss of school for the remainder of the year, their options for summer also look grim, with public pools closed and city-funded summer camps and a youth jobs program canceled … Chalkbeat.

Whether schools can even open in the fall also is in question:

Schools Would Stay Shut in 1st Phase of Trump’s Plan
After President Donald Trump hosted days of briefings filled with bluster about his ability to override state decisions, the White House is leaving the decision about when to open schools and businesses largely to states Thursday, releasing guidelines that call for a tiered approach to “reopening the country” as it confronts the coronavirus pandemic … Education Week.


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Jennifer Palmer

Jennifer Palmer has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2016 and covers education. Contact her at (405) 325-2084 or jpalmer@oklahomawatch.org. Follow her on Twitter @jpalmerOKC