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Coronavirus cancels days of classes across Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan and Washington







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The coronavirus outbreak has Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan and Washington canceling weeks of classes for K-12 students, signaling the potential onset of broader elementary and high school closures across the country.

Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate education panel, is calling to send $3 billion in aid to schools walloped by the pandemic.

The Education Department and several federal agencies hosted a coronavirus-centered conference call with the Council of Chief State School Officers on Thursday.

GOOD MORNING. IT’S FRIDAY MARCH 13. Stay safe. Please continue to keep your Morning Education team apprised on how the education industry and schools are responding to the latest global outbreak. Here’s your daily reminder to send tips to today’s host at jperez@politico.com — and also colleagues Nicole Gaudiano (ngaudiano@politico.com), Michael Stratford (mstratford@politico.com) and Bianca Quilantan (bquilantan@politico.com). Share your event listings with educalendar@politicopro.com. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @Morning_Edu and @POLITICOPro.

KENTUCKY GOV. ANDY BESHEAR SAID THE STATE’S PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS SHOULD CLOSE FOR TWO WEEKS, starting Monday.

Beshear said his instructions weren’t a mandate but represented a “significant recommendation” for local districts to follow, the Louisville Courier Journal reports. A statewide K-12 shutdown would affect nearly 1,500 schools and roughly 650,000 students, the paper said.

BUT MARYLAND’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL SHUT DOWN FROM MARCH 16-27, Gov. Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon said.

— “It is crucial that we take immediate measures to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in school communities around the State,” Salmon said in a statement. “During the time of school closure, all public school buildings and school buses should be cleaned and disinfected to prevent spread of the virus upon the return of students and staff to school.”

The Maryland State Department of Education said it’s working to ensure that the children of emergency services personnel have access to child care while schools are out.

OHIO’S PUBLIC AND PRIVATE K-12 SCHOOLS WILL ALSO CLOSE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS as the state grapples with the COVID-19 crisis.

Gov. Mike DeWine said that at the end of the school day on March 16, all K-12 schools will be closed to students through April 3.

“This order includes all public, community, and private K-12 schools in the state, but does not apply to Ohio’s child care system such as daycare centers and home-based childcare providers,” DeWine’s office said Thursday.

Ohio’s Department of Education will develop guidance for schools in the coming days on keeping up critical services such as providing meals. Like other states, Ohio banned “mass gatherings” of 100 or more people in a single room or space at the same time.

MICHIGAN GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER ORDERED ALL K-12 SCHOOLS IN THE STATE TO CLOSE from March 16 to April 5, the Detroit Free Press reported.

— “Closing our K-12 school buildings is the responsible choice that will minimize the risk of exposure for children, educators, and families and mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” State Superintendent Michael Rice said. “The Department of Education will continue to work closely with our partners in state government to help our students and educators in each school district get through this time.”

IN WASHINGTON STATE, GOV. JAY INSLEE said he’s closing all K-12 schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties for several weeks.

Schools must close by March 17 and stay closed through April 24, Inslee’s office said.

Inslee has asked school superintendents to provide free child care to families of medical professionals and first responders.

And he’s also asked schools to “continue providing services for students who rely on school meals or experience homelessness.”

Sign up for POLITICO Nightly: Coronavirus Special Edition, your daily update on how the illness is affecting politics, markets, public health and more.

MURRAY UNVEILED A $3 BILLION PLAN TO ADDRESS CORONAVIRUS FALLOUT ON CAMPUS. Her bill calls for $600 million per year in grants to states to help with emergency response efforts at schools or colleges, including cleaning and sanitizing facilities and providing other support services.

The legislation allocates an additional $300 million to help early child care programs respond to Covid-19 and maintain operations during the outbreak.

The bill would provide $600 million per year in emergency financial aid to college students affected by the outbreak, including to help cover gaps in basic needs like housing, food and child care.

It would also exempt students from having to pay back Pell Grants or federal student loans that they used to pay for a semester that was disrupted by the global pandemic. Michael Stratford has the story.

REPUBLICAN SENATORS WANT EDUCATION SECRETARY BETSY DEVOS TO STEP IN TO HELP COUNTER CONFUCIUS INSTITUTES, as Congress and the Education Department increasingly crack down on the ties between U.S. higher education and foreign governments and foreign money.

In a letter sent to DeVos on Thursday, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), James Lankford (Okla.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Ted Cruz (Texas) asked about the department’s oversight of those programs on campuses.

“Congress is concerned with the presence of Confucius Institutes on college campuses,” the senators wrote. Bianca Quilantan has the story.

THREE SENATORS INTRODUCED THE EARLY EDUCATORS APPRENTICESHIP ACT ON THURSDAY, in a bid to build up a workforce for an industry parents often struggle to access.

Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said their bill includes provisions intended to increase the number of child care apprentices with credentials or degrees, recruit new workers and offer those apprentices career advancement opportunities.

They’re touting support from: The First Five Years Fund, Bank Street College of Education, Bipartisan Policy Center, Child Care Aware of America, Early Care and Education Consortium, KinderCare Education, National Head Start Association, National Association for the Education of Young Children, New America, The Ounce of Prevention Fund, Save the Children Action Network, ZERO TO THREE, and the Early Learning Policy Group.

SCHOOL MEALS AND DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY WERE TWO POINTS OF EMPHASIS during Thursday’s coronavirus-centered conference call organized by the Education Department and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

USDA Deputy Undersecretary Brandon Lipps said the agency “intends to use all available program flexibilities and contingencies to serve program participants across their 15 nutrition programs,” according to a readout of the call distributed late Thursday. What’s more, USDA has already started issuing waivers to ease program operations. Access to school lunches is one of the overriding concerns officials cite when worrying about the prospect of mass school closures because of the viral outbreak.

CDC officials also discussed school closure and cleaning guidance, according to the call readout.

— Education Department representatives included Deputy Secretary Mick Zais, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus and Office of Special Education Programs Director Laurie VanderPloeg. Officials from the FCC also joined the call in addition to the CDC and USDA.

NEW TEMPORARY WAIVERS ON K-12 TESTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY REQUIREMENTS are in the hopper from the Education Department, as the novel coronavirus drags on the American school system.

The department on Thursday announced it would consider the targeted one-year waivers as part of new resources issued to assist education leaders.

There’s more: DeVos’ administration issued new guidance on student privacy pertaining to Covid-19 and a question-and-answer document for state and local education authorities to help ensure students with disabilities continue to receive services guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

— The documents arrive amid a clamoring from Democratic lawmakers for more guidance on how to respond to the virus and as more than 2,000 schools across the country and colleges and universities are either closed or scheduled to close. Read more from Nicole Gaudiano.

THE NCAA SCRAPPED ITS MARQUEE MARCH MADNESS TOURNAMENT AMID CORONAVIRUS FEARS, and nixed its remaining winter and spring championships. The jarring announcement came after officials planned to simply play behind closed doors.

The NCAA was left to weigh carrying out its championships while sweeping numbers of U.S. colleges and universities cancel in-person classes, limit non-essential travel, discourage large gatherings, and even postpone or cancel competitions in other sports.

Clear signs of tournament tension emerged hours before the NCAA’s formal announcement, when college athletics conferences outright canceled ongoing basketball tournaments because of the viral outbreak. Even celebrated hoops broadcaster Dick Vitale called on NCAA President Mark Emmert to stop the competition.

THE WHARTON SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA HAS A NEW CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS COURSE, which the school will deploy remotely after it finishes a spring break extended by the global outbreak.

The six-week, half-credit course is titled “Epidemics, Natural Disasters, and Geopolitics: Managing Global Business and Financial Uncertainty.” More than 450 students have already expressed interest and pre-registered, Wharton said.

New reports from GLSEN conclude that 2 in 5 LBGTQ students of color are harassed both on the basis of their race and sexual identity. The reports say LGBTQ students of color that experience both forms of victimization have the greatest levels of depression, lowest feelings of school belonging, and are most likely to skip school because they feel unsafe.

Advocates For Youth, Answer and SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change released the second edition of their National Sex Education Standards for K-12 schools.

— Ontario to close public schools until April 5: POLITICO Canada

— Disneyland to close until end of March following Newsom order: POLITICO Pro

— Why coronavirus looks like a ‘black awan’ moment for higher ed: Chronicle of Higher Education

— Belgium closes schools, bars and restaurants: POLITICO Europe

CORRECTION: An earlier version of Morning Education misstated the cost of the aid package, based on information from Murray’s office. The total cost would be $3 billion over two years.



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