While COVID-19-related school closures in spring 2020 challenged every school district, students in rural districts faced especially significant barriers. In particular, lack of consistent internet limited their access to online instruction.
These gaps in access to the internet and instruction were evident in our research. However, we also found that rural districts devised innovative strategies to help put materials and instruction in the hands of students.
The start of the next school year is approaching quickly, and many districts plan to start remotely. Ensuring every student has the internet connectivity to access instruction will require structural change that school districts cannot easily deliver on their own. But in the absence of action at the state or federal level, rural districts may need to get creative.
In this post, we describe the key findings from our work with rural districts during the pandemic. We devote particular attention to strategies used by rural districts across the country in hopes they might be of use to other district leaders.