Virtual School Meanderings

July 7, 2022

New Data from NCES: School Experiences with COVID-19: May 2022

I suspect the remote learning aspects of this item are of interest to readers of this space.

 Institute of Education Sciences

New Data from NCES: School Experiences with COVID-19: May 2022

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) releases today the latest round of findings from the School Pulse Panel (SPP). These SPP data examine student behavior in school, student and teacher absenteeism, the state of learning modes offered by schools, and student and staff quarantine prevalence, as reported by school leaders in U.S. public schools.

Key Findings

Student Behavior and Development

  • Public school leaders have seen a marked impact of the pandemic on their students’ socio-emotional and behavioral development. Eighty-seven percent of public schools agreed or strongly agreed that the pandemic has negatively impacted student socio-emotional development. Similarly, 83 percent of public schools agreed or strongly agreed that students’ behavioral development has been negatively impacted.
  • The following student behaviors were most frequently reported as having increased during the 2021–22 school year (compared to a typical school year before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic) in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects:
    • Classroom disruptions from student misconduct (56 percent)
    • Rowdiness outside of the classroom (49 percent)
    • Acts of disrespect towards teachers and staff (48 percent)
    • The prohibited use of electronic devices (42 percent)
  • Public schools reported needing more support for student and/or staff mental health (79 percent), training on supporting students’ socio-emotional development (70 percent), hiring of more staff (60 percent), and training on classroom management strategies (51 percent).

Student and Teacher Absenteeism and Need for Substitute Teachers

  • Schools across the country have seen a rise in chronic absenteeism. Compared to a typical school year prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 72 percent of U.S. public schools reported an increase in chronic absenteeism among their students. Compared to last school year (2020–21), 39 percent of public schools reported that chronic absenteeism has increased.
    • The average percent of chronically absent students reported by public school leaders during the 2021-22 school year was 17 percent.
  • Compared to a typical school year prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 72 percent of U.S. public schools reported an increase in teacher absences during the 2021–22 school year. Compared to last school year (2020–21), 49 percent of public schools reported that the rate of teacher absences had increased.
  • Seventy-seven percent of public schools reported that it has been more difficult to find substitute teachers during the 2021–22 school year compared to years prior to the pandemic. Compared to the 2020–21 school year, 61 percent of public schools reported that finding substitute teachers is difficult.
  • Nearly all public schools (99 percent) reported not being able to always find substitute teachers when necessary. When substitutes cannot be found, public schools reported relying on administrators (74 percent), non-teaching staff (71 percent), and other teachers on their prep period (68 percent) to cover classes. Additionally, 51 percent of public schools reported combining separate classes into one room when they cannot find a substitute.
    • The use of these alternative coverage strategies is not uncommon; 59 percent of public schools reported “always” or “very frequently” having to use these strategies during the 2021–22 school year.

Learning Modes and Quarantine Prevalence

  • Nearly all (99 percent) public schools continued to offer full-time in-person learning, while 33 percent offered full-time remote learning and 9 percent offered hybrid learning. This has been a consistent trend throughout the 2021–22 school year.
  • For the first time since quarantine data were collected in January, both student and staff quarantine prevalence have increased from the prior month. In May, 47 percent of public schools reported having at least one student in quarantine (compared to 30 percent in April), with the average number of students in quarantine at eight (compared to six students in April).
  • Thirty-five percent of public schools reported having at least one staff member in quarantine (compared to 15 percent in April), with the average number of staff in quarantine at two (compared to one staff member in April).

The data released today can be found at the COVID-19 dashboard at https://ies.ed.gov/schoolsurvey/.

The Institute of Education Sciences, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the nation’s leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation, statistics, and assessment.
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