Understanding the Coronavirus Study

Research Rundown Issue: May '20
Publisher: USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research
Date Published: April '20


The USC Center for Economic and Social Research conducts regular surveys to track key issues facing households across the nation. They recently fielded questions to understand how families with school-aged children are experiencing distance learning and found:

  • Nearly a quarter of parents indicated that they are worried that their children will not be prepared for the upcoming academic year. This concern is more significant for students of color, and greatest among Latino parents, with 37% worrying about their child’s preparedness for school in the fall.
  • 14% of families with a high school senior reported that their child has changed their postsecondary plans.

There are also stark disparities in internet and device access. Families that make less than $25,000 are at least 24 percentage points less likely to have access to both a computer and the internet than families who make over $25,000.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

In a normal year, students can lose anywhere from two weeks to two months of academic growth due to summer learning loss. Learning loss related to COVID-19 school closures could be more drastic, with research projecting a more significant impact on students in lower grades and on math outcomes. It’s vital that leaders start planning for how they will identify and address the learning loss that many of our students will have experienced.

As the legislature readies to adjourn by May 18, policymakers are considering a number of bills that would address student inequities in access to devices and the internet. And even though Minnesota students have been distance learning for well over a month and are set to continue through at least the remainder of the school year, many students—mostly from low-income and rural communities—still do not have access to reliable internet so they can fully engage in distance learning. The legislature must act and respond to the immediate needs of Minnesota’s students.

Read the full study