Schooling Interrupted: Educating Children and Youth in the Covid-19 Era

  • Lorin W. Anderson Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina, United States of America
Keywords: effect of Covid-19 on children and youth, emergency remote teaching, implementation problems, improving remote teaching and learning, reimagining schooling


Distance education has been practised for generations, although its purpose and form have changed. Correspondence courses, in which students receive instruction via mail and respond with assignments or questions to the instructor, date back to the mid-1800s, if not earlier. As technology changed, so did the nature of distance education. Radio, television, computers, and, most recently, the internet have supported distance education over the years. Research studies on the use and effectiveness of distance education focus almost exclusively on higher education. A recent research synthesis suggests that fewer than five per cent of the studies have addressed K-12 education. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has brought distance education into K-12 schools and classrooms. Distance education in the Covid-19 era has been referred to as ‘emergency remote teaching’ (ERT) because, with little research on which to rely, teachers must improvise quick solutions under less-than-ideal circumstances, a situation that causes many teachers to experience stress. The purpose of this paper is to address five fundamental questions. First, what problems have K-12 school administrators and teachers faced in implementing ERT? Second, under what conditions has ERT been effective since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic? Third, what are the strengths of ERT in K-12 schools and classrooms? Fourth, what are the weaknesses of ERT in K-12 schools and classrooms? Fifth, to what extent will lessons learned from ERT influence teaching and learning when the pandemic abates? The paper concludes with a brief set of recommendations. Throughout the paper, the focus is on K-12 education.


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How to Cite
Anderson, L. W. (2021). Schooling Interrupted: Educating Children and Youth in the Covid-19 Era. Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 11(Sp.Issue), 17-38.