VDOE gets $1 million grant to study virus impact on learning


Pre-kindergarten students listen as their teacher reads a story at Dawes Elementary in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Chicago Public Schools students began their return to the classroom Monday as school doors opened to thousands of pre-kindergarten and some special education students after going remote last March due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Education received a $999,912 grant from the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education to study how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted learning in Virginia public schools. The project, titled “Equity in Virginia’s Public Education System: A Longitudinal Examination Spanning the COVID-19 Shutdown,” is designed to examine school decisions and metrics to better inform future decisions and polices.

According to a VDOE release, the grant will be used by researchers from the education department and the University of Virginia to examine things such as “student absenteeism, grade-level retention, enrollment in advanced courses and career and technical education programs, identification of students with disabilities and English learners, student mobility, and teacher retention.”

These metrics will be examined from pre- and post- pandemic years. Data will be gathered from the Virginia Longitudinal Data System which gathers information from the VDOE, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the Virginia Community College System.

Grant money will also be used to study how well school reopening and recovery plans addressed the impact of the pandemic on students and teachers.

“The research funded through this grant will be critical as our schools move beyond the immediate concerns of reopening and shift their focus to addressing the short-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic and school closures on student outcomes and school operations,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane in release. “Our goal is to provide a series of evidence-based policy briefs that will provide practical and actionable information, and help shape policies that prioritize and promote equity during what will be a multiyear recovery process.”

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