facebook linkedin twitter

Biden Executive Order Vows Support for Quality, In-person Learning to Resume

January 22, 2021 by Sara Wilkerson
President Joe Biden signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden has signed an executive order detailing his administration’s policy plans to reopen schools safely for quality, in-person instruction. The order also details how the administration will begin tackling long-term effects that were created and exacerbated by the pandemic, such as learning loss and educational disparities. 

“Every student in America deserves a high-quality education in a safe environment,” stated section one of Biden’s order. “This promise, which was already out of reach for too many, has been further threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“School and higher education administrators, educators, faculty, child care providers, custodians and other staff, and families have gone above and beyond to support children’s and students’ learning and meet their needs during this crisis,” states the order. 

The directive continues further stating, “Students and teachers alike have found new ways to teach and learn. Many child care providers continue to provide care and learning opportunities to children in homes and centers across the country. 

“However, leadership and support from the Federal Government is needed.” 

As part of his plan to reopen America’s schools, the president outlined the federal government’s two guiding principles in following his executive order. 

The first is the prioritization of the health and safety of families and educators. The second principle is the assurance that every student in the country has, “the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, during and beyond the pandemic.” 

In section two of the order, the president directed the secretary of Education and the secretary of Health and Human Services to take on responsibilities within their respective department’s authority, as well as collaborate jointly on several policy fronts. 

For the Department of Education, the president asked that the DoED provide advice to education stakeholders and authorities on methods of instruction (i.e., remote, blended and in-person learning), as well as stressing the importance of promoting mental health and social-emotional well-being and communication with parents and families. 

The order asked the DoED to develop a Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse in order to, “enable schools and institutions of higher education to share lessons learned and best practices for operating safely during the pandemic.” 

To fully understand the impact of the pandemic on students and schools across America, the executive office directed the DoED’s assistant secretary for Civil Rights to prepare a report on, “the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on students in elementary, secondary, and higher education, including those attending historically black colleges and universities, Tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions.” 

In conjunction with investigating how America’s schools are doing amid the pandemic, the order directs the DoED to work jointly with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance on two fronts: 

  • Whether and how states and elementary and secondary schools decide on reopening, and how to stay open, for in-person learning; as well as how to safely conduct in-person learning, including by implementing mitigation measures such as cleaning, masking, proper ventilation, and testing 
  • Reopenings of higher education institutions safely for in-person learning, while taking special consideration into each institution’s, “setting, resources, and the population it serves” 

Aside from collaborating on these guidelines, the DoED and DoHHS are each required to conduct data collections in their respective departments to understand COVID-19’s impact on students and educators. The requested data will include the following: 

  • The status of in-person learning 
  • Student demographics; including race, ethnicity, disability, English-language-learner status 
  • Free or reduced lunch status; other appropriate indicators of family income 

The data collected will be turned over to state, local, Tribal, territorial leaders and the public in order to help these entities make decisions on school reopenings in their communities. 

Alongside its individual data collection, the DoHHS will also help develop and coordinate initiatives that will provide COVID-19 testing materials, contact tracing programs, technical assistance, and mitigation measures for various educational stakeholders. 

To ensure that these directives properly serve the interests of students, educators and other educational and governmental stakeholders, the order directs the DoED and DoHHS to consult with these entities to understand how the executive order’s actions will impact them. 

The executive order has been praised by education leaders such as Becky Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, who released a statement shortly after the order was signed. 

“From day one of his administration, President Joe Biden is demonstrating he is listening to educators and proving that he understands the complexities of providing students with safe and equitable learning environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“No one wants to return to in-person learning more than the educators who have dedicated their lives to helping their students succeed, but reopening school buildings must be done safely and equitably. 

“Educators are encouraged not only by President Biden’s leadership, but also by knowing that there is finally a true partner in the White House who will prioritize students by working with educators in the decision-making process. 

“This Executive Order is an important first step to ensure the protections and significant resources are in place to support the safe and just return to in-person instruction in school buildings and on campuses,” stated Pringle. 

Education

Biden Plan Seeks to Expand Education, From Pre-K to college

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Democrats push ahead with President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan, they're promising historic investments across... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Democrats push ahead with President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan, they're promising historic investments across the arc of an education — from early childhood to college and beyond — in what advocates describe as the most comprehensive package of its kind... Read More

September 24, 2021
by Victoria Turner
FCC Allocates Over $1.2 Billion to Close the Homework Gap

The Federal Communications Commission is allocating over $1.2 billion in the first round of funding of the $7.17 billion Emergency... Read More

The Federal Communications Commission is allocating over $1.2 billion in the first round of funding of the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program with the aim of connecting more than 3.6 million students across the U.S., according to a release today.  Seeking to close the homework... Read More

September 16, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Georgetown Tennis Coach to Plead Guilty For Taking Bribes in Varsity Blues Scandal

WASHINGTON -- A former Georgetown University tennis coach plans to plead guilty to participating in the college admissions cheating scandal... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A former Georgetown University tennis coach plans to plead guilty to participating in the college admissions cheating scandal known as Varsity Blues.  Gordon Ernst is admitting to accepting about $2.7 million in bribes to help children of wealthy families gain admission to the elite... Read More

September 8, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Study Shows How College Education Can Impact Family Planning in Women

A recent article published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences finds a new trend occurring when it... Read More

A recent article published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences finds a new trend occurring when it comes to the role of marriage in family formation among college-educated women. “Until recently, nearly all college-educated women waited to have babies until after they married.... Read More

Jill Biden Heads Back to Classroom As a Working First Lady

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden is going back to her whiteboard. After months of teaching writing and English to community... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden is going back to her whiteboard. After months of teaching writing and English to community college students in boxes on a computer screen, the first lady resumes teaching in person Tuesday from a classroom at Northern Virginia Community College, where she... Read More

September 2, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Virginia Supreme Court Reinstates Teacher Opposed to Transgender Policy

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Supreme Court ruled this week that a public school teacher must be reinstated after he... Read More

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Supreme Court ruled this week that a public school teacher must be reinstated after he was suspended for refusing to use transgender students’ preferred names and pronouns. The teacher, physical education instructor Tanner Cross, cited religious beliefs for his refusal to... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top