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COVID-19 Updates: Special Education Impacts and Tools, Considered Return Dates, Virtual Sports Rivalry

By Net Assets posted 04-03-2020 12:16 PM


(From the New York Times) Under the new CARES Act, Congress will provide Secretary of Education Betsy Devos with the right to waive parts of the federal special education law while schools combat the coronavirus pandemic. Administrators say without the waivers, schools serving special education students would be forced to meet unrealistic expectations as they shift to online learning models. Avoiding those consequences could mean that districts decide not to offer any education at all to students in the next two months. However, disabilities rights advocates called the proposal an attempt to permanently weaken — or eliminate — protections for students with learning disorders and other special needs.

More at the New York Times

(From Google) Across the U.S., schools and families face new challenges in maintaining instruction for students with disabilities. To address these concerns, Google has assembled a list of built-in accessibility features for educators and families using Chromebooks, as well as a 12-part video series with training for teachers. These tools include voice-to-text typing, select-to-speak audio capabilities, word prediction and completion, and font correctors for students with dyslexia, among other features.

More at Google

(From the 74 Million) A growing number of states say they are closing schools for the rest of 2019, forcing schools to ask, "What now?" Education thought leader Andrew Rotherham has argued that schools would do well to keep students in school remotely  for part of this coming summer. From an economic standpoint, operating schools in some form keeps a lot of people working and puts dollars into the economy, he points out. Beyond that, an extended school calendar will give students structure and allow schools to "live up to the warranties they make to students."

More at the 74 Million

(From Inside Higher Ed) Meanwhile, higher education leaders are preparing for a fall semester without in-person classes, raising questions about how schools can deliver an academic programming that meets the needs of students and faculty in the longer-term. Just as important as having the technology is. A full-blown shift to online learning, done right, will require more than the right technology but rather, "getting the faculty to actually come and buy in to the value and necessity of engaging in that learning," said Flower Darby, director of teaching at Northern Arizona University.

More at Inside Higher Ed

(From the Capital Gazette) Students at two Maryland independent schools found a creative way to engage in athletic rivalry while the spring sports season is suspended. Called the “wall-ball challenge,” lacrosse teams from St. Mary’s School and Roland Park Country School competed to see who could hit the most targets from eight feet away. Each student competed at home and submitted the videos to their coaches. With taking part in the challenge brought lacrosse back for a moment, seeing the competition play out on social media was what made students feel more connected than anything.

More at the Capital Gazette


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