2020-21 Fall Reopening Plans and Summer Responses to COVID-19 Closures

Research Rundown Issue: August '20
Publisher: Center on Reinventing Public Education
Date Published: August '20


The Center on Reinventing Public Education reviewed back-to-school plans from 86 districts to find out how schools are approaching the 2020-21 school year. They then compared the results to their spring distance learning plan analysis. They found that many more districts plan to offer students access to live instruction (79% v. 21%), and 87% of districts provide specific information on what remote curriculum they will provide. However, there were still many areas for improvement:

  • 29% mentioned using diagnostic assessments;
  • 29% specified how they would support students academically while also getting them on grade level;
  • 32% indicated how they would track attendance; and
  • 21% of the districts specified how much instructional time that would be offered daily;
  • 36% clearly stated how they will grade student work.

The authors conclude that while there are many examples of innovative thinking, many critical details are still missing from the plans. CRPE calls for districts to continue to improve and deliver clear plans for how they will support students—particularly those traditionally underserved—for the upcoming school year.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

Many of the areas of improvement identified by CRPE’s analysis align with our analysis of spring distance learning plans in Minnesota, where we found:

  • Only 23% of districts specified that students would have access to live instruction;
  • 42% indicated teachers would provide feedback on assignments;
  • 46% specified time expectations for distance learning; and
  • 40% detailed their grading policies.

With incredibly high stakes for long-term student outcomes—particularly for historically underserved students—districts must ensure that their fall learning plans are clear, transparent, and provide detailed information that ensures students will receive the best education possible. CRPE’s analysis can provide a framework for best practices and concerns to avoid in local planning.

Read the full analysis