School Preparedness Plans for Pandemics and Continuity of Education
F. Chris Curran (University of Florida)
UF Education Policy Research Center Policy Brief
The recent and ongoing COVID-19 global health pandemic has drastically altered the learning environment of K-12 students nationwide, resulting in disrupted education for students and rapidly evolving responses by the public education system. While difficult to prepare for a pandemic of this scale, this policy brief demonstrates that about a quarter of school districts and the majority of schools nationwide did not have response plans in place for an infectious disease pandemic prior to COVID-19. Furthermore, the prevalence of these plans had been on the decline for the past decade following a rapid increase between 2008 and 2010. This policy brief also demonstrates that, of potential crises examined in national surveys, response plans for pandemics or infectious diseases were among the least likely to exist compared to other disasters (i.e. natural disasters, school shootings, etc.). Finally, this brief highlights the fact that the majority of schools did not report having plans in place to ensure the continuity of education in the face of a disruption to in-person instruction.