[Editor’s note: This story originally appeared online on MSU Today, Michigan State University’s news site, and is reposted here with permission.]

As the number of cases of COVID-19 multiplies and the duration of school closures increases, school districts are struggling with the feasibility of providing students with online learning opportunities.

In the rush to plan for online education hours, schools must consider equity and the quality of internet access available to their students.

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A new report from Michigan State University’s Quello Center reveals the challenges schools face if they plan to move online:

1) Available data on home internet access is missing.

“We know that there is a serious gap between what official government statistics tell us about broadband availability and the actual experience on the ground,” said Professor and Quello Center Director Johannes M. Bauer.

In an effort to improve on available data, the Quello Center collaborated with Merit Networks and Michigan school districts to conduct a first-of-its-kind study to measure home internet access and school performance. Researchers examined 3,258 students in grades 8-11, distributing in-class, pen-and-paper surveys in 21 predominantly rural Michigan schools, looking at student PSAT and SAT scores and home internet speed test data.

4 things districts need to know before moving to online learning

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eSchool News Online and Blended Learning Guide

The eSchool News Online and Blended Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help K-12 administrators and educators adjust to the sudden shift to online learning in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It also features best practices, resources, and tips for top-notch online and blended learning practices. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!

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