Thursday, September 10, 2020

School roundup: At least four rural teachers have died from covid-19; rural areas struggle with broadband access

AshLee DeMarinis, a middle-school teacher in eastern Missouri's Potosi School District, died Sunday after being hospitalized for three weeks with covid-19. (Photo by Jennifer Heissenbuttel, Associated Press, via Washington Post)

Students have been in class—whether in person, at home, or even in a Taco Bell parking lot—for about a month. Here's a look at how the coronavirus pandemic has affected our education system:

At least six U.S. teachers have died from covid-19 since the school year began. Two were from state-capital cities (Des Moines, Iowa and Columbia, S.C.). The other four were from communities with populations ranging from 2,660 to 28,000 in Mississippi, Missouri, and Oklahoma, Katie Shepherd reports for The Washington Post.

Arizona families who opt for distance learning say it's difficult because the virtual classrooms are crowded with as many as 70 students, Lily Altavena reports for the Arizona Republic.

In California, 66% of Latino residents lack broadband access at home, and one in five students (disproportionately rural) lack it. A photo of two young Latinas doing homework in a Taco Bell parking lot in Salinas recently went viral. More than $130,000 has been raised for the family since then, but other students are still in the same boat nationwide, N'dea Yancey-Bragg reports for USA Today.

Speaking of parking lots: some rural college students have to attend virtual classes from their cars because they lack broadband access at home, Scott Simon reports for NPR. Some rural college students have take classes from their cars because of lack of wifi:

One rural New York school district says many students lack reliable broadband access, even though Federal Communications Commission data indicates that the county is "completely served" with internet access, Kaitlin Lyle reports for TriCorner News in Lakeville, Conn.

Many cash-strapped school systems don't have the money or tools for cybersecurity, leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks—including some by students, Emma Coleman reports for Route Fifty.

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