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Tracking Educational Equity in the Midst of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted widespread school closures in the U.S. to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Currently, millions of K-12 students are learning remotely for at least the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, with varying degrees of access to the critical services, resources and instruction they are accustomed to receiving in school. Many educators, students and families are overwhelmed at the prospect of remote learning. The implications are profound for children with limited financial resources, children of color, children with disabilities, children who are English-language learners, children in immigrant families, children in foster care, migrant children, children experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ children, and children in the juvenile justice system.

Many schools have stepped up to ensure that students with food insecurity do not go hungry by continuing to provide free meals even during school closures. But families and educators have struggled to keep students on their learning track while maintaining equity.  

To better understand the full scope and range of the challenges facing students and families as a result of the school closures from the pandemic, the Southern Poverty Law Center invites you to participate in a survey to capture your experiences.


(Disclaimer: It is important to understand that participating in the SPLC survey does not mean that SPLC attorneys represent you, or could represent you, or will represent you in the future.)

Tools to Support Students, Families and Educators During the Pandemic

For Families 

Education Services Tracker
Use this worksheet to track the educational services received by your child’s school. 

USDA Food and Nutrition Service – Find Meals for Kids
To ensure that children who rely on free or reduced-price meals at school are able to get the nutrition they need, USDA is working with states to continue providing meals to students.

For Educators/Administrators

The SPLC’s Learning For Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance) program has compiled several resources on how educators and school districts can best support students — based on the results of a TT-sponsored survey for educators. The compilation also includes helpful information for parents and caregivers on managing anxiety during this pandemic, as well as materials to aid in homeschooling.

Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities During School Closures
Experts from the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence offer recommendations for supporting students with learning disabilities through the coronavirus pandemic.

National Center for Learning Disabilities
Learn more about what you can do as an educator to support students with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis.

Rethinking Family Engagement During School Closures
Taking time to check assumptions about family engagement can make a huge difference in the lives of your students and their caregivers.

District Responses to Coronavirus: Examples to Follow
Advocate for students and families during this crisis by using this resource to evaluate your district’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and offer recommendations for changes.

Supporting LGBTQ Students During Social Distancing
Experts at The Trevor Project offered their recommendations for ways educators can support LGBTQ students through coronavirus school closures.

Online Teaching Can Be Culturally Responsive
Amid school closures, online classes can offer new opportunities for culturally responsive teaching. Here’s what one educator is trying with her fifth grade students.

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus
Experts from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network share their recommendations for educators supporting students during the COVID-19 crisis.

How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism
As COVID-19 infections increase, so too does racism and xenophobia. Use our “Speak Up” strategies to let people know you’re not OK with racist or xenophobic comments about coronavirus or anything else.

Teaching Through Coronavirus: What Educators Need Right Now
We asked educators what they need, and we listened. We hope this message—and these resources—offer some help.

A Healthy Reminder to Educators During School Closures
An instructional coach experiencing long-term school closures in Washington state shares some encouraging words for fellow educators who are grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and their own emotions.

Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus
The spread of the new coronavirus has become racialized, so it’s critical that educators understand the historical context and confront racist tropes and xenophobia from students and colleagues.

For Alabama

Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
COVID-19 Parent Guidance and Resources

Coronavirus: Data and resources for assistance
ADPH has a dashboard with information about the number of cases, COVID-19 related deaths, and test sites in each county.

Back To School Bama
Legal Services of Alabama, Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, and the SPLC have launched this website to provide Alabama families and students with information about their education rights and supports during the pandemic.

Special Education in the Time of COVID-19: Webinar Recording
Part I
Part II

For Mississippi

Listing of schools serving meals during school closures
See “where to find meals” section of the Mississippi Department of Education website at link

Feeding America – Mississippi
Includes contact information for food banks serving Mississippi

One Voice Mississippi Coronavirus Response & Information page
This page will serve as a hub for information regarding Mississippi’s Response and Impacts from the Coronavirus.

For Louisiana

Schools serving meals during school closures by Parish
The Louisiana Department of Education has created an interactive map that shows Schools Serving Meals By Parish during COVID-19 School Closures

Louisiana Department of Education – Serving students with disabilities learning
Resources for families, as well as up-to-date information and guidance for schools and centers. Includes important learning resources for students with disabilities.

Louisiana Food Banks and Food Pantries
Feeding Louisiana's member food banks are working tirelessly to serve Louisiana's seniors, families, and workers affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. We are committed to serving Louisiana's communities in need throughout this crisis.

Louisiana Department of Health — Keep Calm Through COVID Hotline offering free counseling services
The Keep Calm Through COVID crisis phone line provides trained, compassionate counselors to support Louisianans through this difficult time. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with information and service coordination, linking callers to mental health and substance abuse counseling services. This service is available to the public at no charge.


The SPLC Action Fund joined partner organizations in sending letters to governors and top education officials in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi urging them to use the millions of dollars their state is receiving under the CARES Act to eliminate education inequities and support children and families disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 school closures.

We urged Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer to take immediate and comprehensive action to ensure equal educational opportunity during the COVID-19 public health crisis and beyond.

We urged Secretary DeVos and Acting Assistant Secretary Schultz to support our request to keep the laws intact and protect the civil rights of students with disabilities. We must work together to ensure schools and families collaborate in support of every student with a disability.

We provided promising practices and recommendations to school administrators, teachers, parents, education and civil rights advocates, and policymakers who are working hard to educate and care for America’s students in this unprecedented time of crisis.



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