School Reopening Plans and Reported Cases of COVID in Schools

School Reopening Plans and Reported Cases of COVID in Schools

Like schools worldwide, schooling in Florida has changed drastically this year because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Almost all Florida school districts reopened this year with an in-person option guided by local reopening plans that aimed to create safe learning environments. UF’s Education Policy Research Center tracked the development of these reopening plans as part of the Florida School Reopening Plans Database. Now that schools have reopened, this policy brief examines how characteristics of reopening plans relate to reported cases of COVID in schools through October 24th. The results in this brief, while correlational, suggest that practices including beginning the year entirely remote and requiring masks are related to lower COVID rates in schools.

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Video Policy Briefs

What are SROs and Why are They in Schools?
Center Co-Director and Associate Professor, F. Chris Curran, explains what school resource officers (SROs) are and why they are an increasingly common fixture in schools.

 

School Resource Officers and School Discipline
Center Co-Director and Associate Professor, F. Chris Curran, discusses the roles of school resource officers (SROs) in the school discipline system.

 

School Resource Officers and Student Interactions
Center Co-Director and Associate Professor, F. Chris Curran, discusses the ways that SROs engage with students and the potential implications.

 

Policy Brief: Time to Implement: Florida School Reopening Plans Meet the Start of the School Year

This policy brief provides updated evidence on Florida school districts’ plans for the reopening of schools for the 2020 school year. Drawing on the third round of data collected as part of the UF Education Policy Research Center’s Florida School Reopening Plans Database, this policy brief documents reopening plans as of the end of August 2020. By the end of August, all districts had a reopening plan, and many had already begun the new school year. Almost 9 out of 10 districts provided a new digital learning option, while several began the year entirely remote. About half of districts statewide provided technology and support for internet access for remote students. This brief considers how reopening plans position school districts to respond to potential future outbreaks of COVID this fall. This is the last in a series of policy briefs that have tracked reopening plans over the last two months.

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Research Report: The Expanding Presence of Law Enforcement in Florida Schools

The presence of law enforcement in public schools has been a common security practice in the state of Florida for several decades. Following the tragic 2018 school shooting in Parkland, FL, the state passed a law requiring all public schools to either have law enforcement or other armed personnel present. Drawing on state-wide data for the school years 2014-15 through 2018-19, this report examined the relationship between law enforcement in schools and a number of outcomes including reports of behavioral incidents to the state, incidents reported to law enforcement, school arrests, and exclusionary discipline. This analysis used statistical techniques that controlled for both observable characteristics of districts and schools as well as unobserved characteristics that were fixed over time. Findings suggest that the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act significantly increased the presence of law enforcement in schools, particularly in elementary schools. The presence of law enforcement in schools was related to increases in the number of behavioral incidents reported to the state, the number of such incidents reported to law enforcement, and student arrests. The results suggest a need to reconsider whether law enforcement should be present in schools, and, if they are, how they can be implemented in a way that minimizes unnecessary exposure of students to law enforcement and arrests.

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Policy Brief: Delayed Starts and Face Masks: Updates on Reopening Plans for Florida Schools

This policy brief provides updated evidence on Florida school districts’ plans for the reopening of schools for the coming school year. Drawing on the second round of data collected as part of the UF Education Policy Research Center’s Florida School Reopening Plans Database, this policy brief documents how reopening plans have changed from mid-July to the end of July. As of the last week of July, almost all districts in the state had publicly announced reopening plans, and a handful had been approved by the state. Masks were required at least part-time in about half of districts, a considerable jump from the 34% of districts that required masks in the earlier round of data collection. About half of districts had also announced plans to delay the start of the school year, and several had plans to begin the new school year entirely through remote learning. This is the second in a series of policy briefs that track reopening plans in Florida through the start of the 2020–21 school year.

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