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dc.contributor.advisorMassey, Douglas-
dc.contributor.authorGuerci, Eric-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis investigates how the United States public education system responded to the historic disruption that the coronavirus pandemic posed when it arrived on American shores in the spring of 2020. I do so by asking what experiences school systems provided when they transitioned away from brick-and-mortar classrooms in spring 2020, and how they operated their learning enterprise in the fall 2020 semester. I then try to discover why districts across America exhibited different levels of success transitioning to spring virtual learning and fall in-person reopening by probing the relationship between the opportunities that school systems afforded their students in the pandemic’s aftermath and various dimensions of school quality before the pandemic. To frame these questions, I review the existing evidence on previous uses of virtual learning to reveal mixed outcomes that point towards the potential for innovative programming but mostly uphold advantages for high-achieving students while failing to meet the needs of their underperforming peers. I then introduce the District Transition Score (DTS) as a novel index of virtual learning quality in school districts during the spring semester. I find that districts that are urban, less impoverished, and offer more student supports demonstrated significantly more success when transitioning to spring online learning. Finally, my outcome of interest shifts to whether schools remained fully online, opened fully in-person, or offered a hybrid model when they began the fall school year—with a particular eye towards political influences on this choice. Results suggest that more poverty, higher achievement, more resources, higher proportions of white residents, higher proportions of registered Republicans, and rural status all significantly increase the odds that a district opened with some in-person components. The thesis concludes with a brief policy framework for how schools can return to America’s students what the pandemic stole from them.en_US
dc.titleReady or Not, Here It Comes: American School Districts’ Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemicen_US
dc.typePrinceton University Senior Theses
pu.departmentPrinceton School of Public and International Affairsen_US
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2022

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