August 14, 2020

Need to know: COVID-19

Need to know: School reopening

The following two databases track how North Carolina’s K-12 schools and community colleges are handling school this fall. Both are being updated regularly to reflect new information.

For your consideration

Community colleges start their fall semester on Monday, and many have shared with us they are likely facing enrollment declines this fall. Typically, colleges see increased enrollment during economic downturns as those out of work look to increase their skills and employability. However, this is not a normal downturn.

In a session during yesterday’s virtual Education and Workforce Conference hosted by the NC Chamber, new Durham Tech president J.B. Buxton spoke to the layers of uncertainty impacting decisions to enroll, including the financial impact of COVID-19, how the labor market will be reshaped by the pandemic, and what this fall will look like for adult students who have kids in K-12 schools.

New survey results from Strada Education Network’s COVID-19 Work and Education Survey shed some light on what workers and students are thinking about education this fall. Findings include:

  • 38% of workers who have lost a job or income say they are more likely to enroll in additional education or training as a result of COVID-19 compared to 15% of workers who have not lost a job or income.
  • However, only half of displaced workers are confident that education would lead to a good job or be worth the cost, and 56% of current students believe the value of the education provided this fall will be reduced due to not being fully in-person.
  • Only 44% of disrupted workers feel they can access the education or training they want.

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Dropping knowledge

As with almost every facet of our lives, COVID-19 has disrupted pathways from K-12 to higher education. Just yesterday, a community college president told me they are having difficulty reaching high school students to enroll them in their dual enrollment courses.

Education Commission of the States released a series of six briefs focusing on the transition from high school to postsecondary education, titled “Equitable Transitions During Pandemic Disruptions.” Each brief focuses on a different part of the process, such as FAFSA completion, dual enrollment, and work-based learning opportunities. The briefs contain recommendations for states and districts to improve these pathways during the pandemic. Check out all six here.

In the news

What this election will look like, and especially whether people can reliably vote by mail, is a big question mark right now. Rand Corporation recently published an assessment of each state’s voting process flexibility. They look at how much flexibility states have in three areas — voter registration, remote voting, and early voting — and how that impacts the safety of the election. Check out where North Carolina stands here. 

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