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August 27, 2020 COVID-19 WEBINAR SERIES

Back to School in the Time of COVID-19: Civil Rights Implications as Children Return to School

Safely re-opening k-12 schools during a global pandemic has presented a unique challenge for states and districts around the country. Many schools have already resumed in-person learning and are working to keep students and staff healthy and socially-distant. But, concerns about the return to school this year are not just about students and staff members' physical safety. States and districts are also considering questions raised regarding civil rights, including free speech, access to quality instruction, and school discipline policies, among many others.

Policymakers, families, and district leaders are grappling with how to best approach the return to school. Proposals have ranged from "pandemic pods" to hybrid learning approaches. But, there are potential consequences for various approaches, including: a shift to focus on remediation or deepening segregation as students who have other alternatives to in-person learning exercise them. As students return, it is imperative to examine these issues.

This webinar featured researchers, civil rights advocates, and other stakeholders who discussed civil rights considerations at the forefront of this year's return to school.

Welcome and Introduction

  • Patricia Lee Refo, President, American Bar Association; Partner, Snell & Wilmer LLP



Co-Sponsors: ABA Center on Children and the LawABA Commission on Disability Rights, ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and ResponsibilitiesABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender IdentityABA Criminal Justice Section
ABA Section of Litigation Children's Rights Litigation Committee


COVID-19 and K–12 School Reopening: A Simple Information Provision Proposal
Mercatus Center at George Mason University | August 3, 2020

Restarting and Reinventing School: Learning in the Time of COVID and Beyond
Learning Policy Institute | August 25, 2020

Monitoring Attendance in Distance Learning
Attendance Works

Children Youth and Family Collaborative

A.R.I.S.S.E. Brochure
Children Youth Family Collaborative

Partners for Student Success Brochure
Children Youth Family Collaborative

Stay Home, Stay Connected
Parent Teacher Home Visits

Virtual Home Visits: Building Essential Relationships

Regarding resources, the CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund awards grants to state education agencies for the purpose of providing local education agencies with emergency relief funds to address the impact of COVID-19. These grants can be used to support any activity authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

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