In spring 2020, as U.S. schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and moved to distance learning, school districts were left scrambling to prepare. Few resources were available to support U.S. public school districts in handling distance learning during a pandemic, or any other event that could cause a sudden transition to long-term remote learning. Houston Education Research Consortium researchers set out to examine what distance learning plans were available in the spring of 2020.
HERC collected 45 school district action plans addressing continuity of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic from school districts in 15 states that were publicly available between March and May 2020. These plans were summarized and coded to describe common themes about what school districts had or had not prepared for when schools began to close in 2020. The four themes from these school action plans that form the foundation of this report are 1) addressing equity, 2) technology support, 3) logistics for remote learning, and 4) addressing non-academic needs.