Educators and students in schools across the United States have faced sweeping, unprecedented changes to teaching and learning because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which shuttered school buildings in spring 2020. This Data Note presents selected results on several aspects of schooling, including both teachers’ and principals’ perspectives, and it examines inequities in approaches and resources for delivering distance learning across schools serving different student populations. Drawing on the RAND Corporation’s American Educator Panels, researchers surveyed nationally representative samples of K–12 public school teachers and principals in late April and early May 2020 to document how they delivered instruction and other services, what supports and resources they needed, and their expected priorities and plans for the 2020–2021 school year. Researchers found that educators shifted quickly to distance learning and provided a variety of supports, but they indicated needing additional resources. These resources included access to technology and devices for students, teacher training in remote instruction, strategies for motivating students, ways to address loss of students’ hands-on learning opportunities, and strategies to support students’ social and emotional learning. Many teachers indicated that they did not receive adequate support for students with disabilities and homeless students, among other groups. Researchers also identified disparities among the kinds of instruction and other resources provided in schools serving different student populations, which suggests that the pandemic will cause existing inequalities to increase. Principals anticipated prioritizing emergency preparedness, student mental health, and recovering from the learning gaps caused by the pandemic.
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