Education

It's been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic completely upended our lives. For young people especially, it reprieved them of fully experiencing the world during a crucial time of growth and development.

Parents all over the world are beaming with all sorts of questions to get a grasp on the pandemic's toll, such as: How has the pandemic been affecting our children? Has remote learning slowed their education? Has reduced socializing hurt their development?

The job market is starting to roar back, but for anxious college seniors like Bao Ha, it's a different reality altogether.

"I've probably applied to like 130 or 40 jobs or something," Ha says. "I have not gotten even an email back, or an interview."

Ha is graduating soon from Macalaster College in Minnesota, and between his anthropology thesis and trying to check items off his senior year bucket list, he has spent hours crafting cover letters and scouring job postings.

And now, self-doubt has started to trickle in.

Updated April 8, 2021 at 11:39 AM ET

Gabriel Toro choked up behind his mask as he described the lengths it took him to complete his bachelor's degree at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

A woman wearing a black t-shirt holds up an assignment sheet, detailing an role-playing activity about immigration for students at Mt. Anthony Union High School.
Drew Davidson

A recent incident in Bennington shows that students of color sometimes still face racially insensitive curriculum in Vermont schools.

A graphic showing students on and around a stack of giant blue books.
Anastasia Usenko / iStock

For many, college is a time for meeting new people and sharing experiences. But COVID-19 has made socializing especially challenging for college students. This segment, we speak with a panel of student journalists from across the state about how they and their peers are navigating pandemic restrictions and the college experience. 

Updated March 26, 7:15 p.m.

A year after the pandemic shut down the country, a growing number of infectious disease experts, epidemiologists, public health officials and others have started to entertain a notion that has long seemed out of reach: The worst of the pandemic may be over for the United States.

Updated March 23, 2021 at 10:51 AM ET

In a year when so much about schooling has changed, add this to the list: A significant increase in the number of households where students were homeschooled.

That's according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, an online survey that asks questions about how the pandemic is changing life in U.S. homes.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

Weathersfield considers how to memorialize Romaine Tenney. Plus, a vaccination clinic for teachers, bars reopen Wednesday, and 85 varieties of tomato.

Vaccination clinic sign
Brittany Patterson / VPR

In the last few weeks, Vermont has started offering COVID-19 vaccines to K-12 public and private school teachers and staff, early educators and child care workers, as the state pushes to get kids back into classrooms full time this spring. At one recent vaccination clinic for educators, teachers expressed excitement and relief as they received their shots.

Two simplistic humanoid figures attempt to ascend a latter. The latter one on the left has many rungs for easy ascension, while the one on the right has few rungs, and thus an inequitable climb.
Nazan Akpolat / iStock

While addressing COVID-19 is a big task, Vermont lawmakers are also continuing with other legislative work amid the pandemic, including what could be the biggest overhaul to how the state funds education in a quarter century.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

Looking back on the second wave of COVID-19 deaths. Plus, a possible overhaul of Vermont’s education funding system, Burlington’s racial equity director is reinstated to oversee a policing study, and COVID-19 numbers.

As President Biden pushes to get students back in schools, there's one crucial question: How much social distance is necessary in the classroom?

The answer (to that question) has huge consequences for how many students can safely fit into classrooms. Public schools in particular are finding it difficult to accommodate a full return if 6 feet of social distancing is required — a key factor behind many schools offering hybrid schedules that bring students back to the classroom just a few days a week.

A sign reading 'COVID-19 If You Enter VT You Must Isolate HealthVermont.Gov'
Elodie Reed / VPR File

It was nearly one year ago, on Friday, March 13, 2020, when Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency in Vermont in response to COVID-19. Much has changed since then for Vermont, the nation and the world. This hour, we talk about the many ways life has changed amid the pandemic and consider the outlook for the future.

Almost exactly one year ago, the pandemic caused a cascade of school and university closures, sending 9 out of 10 students home as the coronavirus raced through the United States and the rest of the world.

By Labor Day, 62% of U.S. students were still learning virtually, according to the organization Burbio. That number dropped significantly during the fall and rose in the winter as COVID-19 surged. And today, just under 1 in 4 public school students attends a district that still hasn't held a single day of in-person learning.

Bobby is a sixth grader at North Brookfield Elementary School in western Massachusetts. He's crazy about the Loch Ness monster. He's into math and Minecraft. And he likes online learning.

"It's a lot easier to focus," he says. "I can be in my room and be a lot more comfortable doing stuff."

President Biden has said that his goal is to have the majority of K-8 schools operating in-person by the end of his first 100 days in office.

A black and white photograph of a group of students and a teacher standing outside a one-room schoolhouse.
Vermont Historical Society, courtesy

How did Vermont end up with so many small, one-room schools? And why don’t we use them anymore? 

One year after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered classrooms around the country and the world, U.S. parents are guardedly optimistic about the academic and social development of their children, an NPR/Ipsos poll finds.

But 62% of parents say their child's education has been disrupted. And more than 4 out of 5 would like to see schools provide targeted extra services to help their kids catch up. This includes just over half of parents who support the idea of summer school.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

The coronavirus has infected more than 130 people at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport. Plus, Town Meeting results, and school budgets.

A white sign with green and red lettering instructs people to vote today at the Winooski Senior Center on the school budget.
Henry Epp / VPR File

Town Meeting Day voters showed overwhelming support Tuesday for school districts, which have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

Rethinking school funding. Plus, some towns are voting on retail cannabis at Town Meeting, COVID-19 vaccinations hit 100k, and the bat population.

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