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As we monitor remote an hybrid learning, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says that communities have all the tools they need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and there should be “no need” for remote or hybrid learning. This is all dependent on students receiving the fast approaching vaccine for children. The issues and potential delay will be the fact that this topic has become political nationwide. This forces our assessment community to monitor and continue to pivot during the transition. Learn more below:

  • Cardona said parents across the country are “breathing that sigh of relief” as vaccinations have started for children ages 5-11. 
  • “We are thrilled. We know we’ve been waiting, collectively holding our breath,” Cardona said. 
  • According to CDC data, at least 400,000 5 to 11 year olds have received one dose of the vaccine since it was approved last week for emergency use authorization. 
  • Cardona said “the younger they are, the more hesitancy there will be ” when asked about vaccine hesitancy among younger students. He added that it’s the Department of Education’s role to communicate effectively to parents that the vaccination “is the best thing they can do to protect their children.” 
  • Cardona also touched on the contentious school board meetings that have been taking place around the country. Although school board  meetings have traditionally been centered around local issues, they lately have been engulfed in national hot-button topics centered around mask mandates.
  • Despite the threats of violence against some school board members, Cardona said he is confident that schools can remain a safe space for parents to engage in dialogue about their child’s learning experience in a meaningful way. 
  • Cardona also discussed reimagining the education system as a whole, specifically when it comes to summer learning for students.
    • The pandemic disrupted more than a year of schooling for some, contributing to the high level of learning loss among minority and low-income students.
    • According to NWEA data, Black, Latino, and low-income students showed slower progress in reading comprehension and math in the 2020-21 school year.
    • Cardona noted that summer learning experiences will be critical moving forward as the country addresses achievement disparities among students. 
  • The American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law earlier this year, allocates billions in funding for summer and afterschool programs at the state and local level  to combat learning loss due to the pandemic.
    • $8.45 billion available at the state level for summer and afterschool programs
    • $21.9 billion at the local level for summer and afterschool programs.

Complete article HERE

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