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Urban, High-Poverty Schools Prefer Remote Instruction Under COVID-19, Report Finds

School districts in urban areas and those that serve the most children in poverty are the most likely to be offering full-time remote instruction this fall, according to a report released Thursday by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a Seattle-based research organization.

A little more than a quarter—26 percent—of districts will begin the year fully remote. Another 12 percent will kick-off the year in a hybrid model, where students get a mix of remote and in-person instruction. And 85 percent of districts will offer families the choice to go fully remote, even if that means also offering some in person or hybrid instruction.

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For the most part, not many districts are placing a particular priority on offering in-person instruction to specific groups of students. Just 8 percent will offer more in-person time to certain grade levels. If they do, it's usually the youngest kids. Another 29 percent reported that they'll try to focus any in-person instruction on vulnerable groups of students, including students in special education and those who were already struggling academically before the virus hit.

And the plans show a clear division between rural districts and urban ones. While 65 percent of rural districts plan to start fully in-person this fall, only 24 percent of suburban districts and 9 percent of urban districts plan to do so. In fact, few urban districts will be offering any in-person instruction at the start of the year. Nearly 4 of every 5 urban districts were planning to start fully remote this fall.

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Districts that serve students living in poverty are more likely to start fully remote too. Forty-one percent of the highest poverty districts will be all remote this fall, compared with 25 percent of the lowest-poverty districts.

snip for CRPE report.PNG And district leaders have had the additional headache of planning for a variety of possibilities. Three-quarters of districts drew up plans for both full in-person instruction and full remote instruction, depending on health conditions. And almost half of districts had plans for all three approaches: in-person, remote, and hybrid classes.


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