Special Topic: COVID-19

Between closed schools, online learning, and a disrupted college admissions process, the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping education in real-time. Penn GSE’s experts are sharing expertise and creating solutions for educators, learners, parents, and families while examining the global ramifications for policy and practice.

Media Inquiries

Kat Stein
Executive Director of Penn GSE Communications
(215) 898-9642
katstein@gse.upenn.edu

Jeff Frantz
Senior Associate Director of Penn GSE Communications
(215) 898-3269
frantzj@gse.upenn.edu

An illustration showing hands on a gear, symbolizing teamwork.

Learning every day to respond to COVID-19

Jonathan Supovotiz and John D'Auria have ideas to help leaders collaborate within their districts, schools, and teams to address questions of equity, access, technology, pedagogy, and social-emotional support.

Planning for Uncertainty Guide Cover

Planning for Uncertainty: An Educator’s Guide to Navigating the COVID-19 Era

The Planning for Uncertainty Guide advocates for approaching educational challenges and the problem-solving they require through an Uncertainty Mindset. It guides educators through developing actionable strategies in the face of pervasive uncertainty, both independently and alongside colleagues. Learn more and download the guide at the Project for Mental Health and Optimal Development.

Kindergarten classroom

Special Issue: Perspectives on Urban Education

Penn GSE’s Perspectives on Urban Education provides an interactive forum to investigate critical issues in urban education. The special Fall 2020 issue, New Tools for a New House: Transformations for Justice and Peace in and beyond COVID-19, addresses the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice, and features voices of students, teachers, educational leaders, counselors, parents, and researchers.

More Penn GSE COVID-19 Coverage

A boy at play.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
October 15, 2020
Michael Nakkula and Andy Danilchick have suggestions for how parents can navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 era.
A teacher in front of a classroom
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
October 13, 2020
In their new guide, Michael Nakkula and Andy Danilchick show educators how to cultivate an "uncertainty mindset".
A girl looks up from reading a picture book.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
September 30, 2020
These will help parents build these literacy skills with their children and have fun in the process.
An illustration showing hands on a gear, symbolizing teamwork.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
September 24, 2020
Jonathan Supovotiz and John D'Auria have ideas to help leaders collaborate within their districts, schools, and teams to address questions of equity, access, technology, pedagogy, and social-emotional support.
Richard M. Ingersoll, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
September 14, 2020
, Laredo Morning Times

Despite COVID concerns, economics still driving teacher retirement decisions

“Even if you don’t like your job, if there aren’t other options out there, you’re going to be loath to leave. There aren’t a lot of options out there,” said Richard Ingersoll.

Steve Piltch, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
August 16, 2020
, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Many private schools are planning to open in person as public schools are stuck online

Steve Piltch said private school enrollment has declined during the last decade. “Whatever the classes were there to begin with, they were smaller than most of the public schools are,” he said. 

Sharon M. Ravitch, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
August 12, 2020
, Harvard Business Review Online

Why Teaching Through Crisis Requires a Radical New Mindset

“The more we consider this new reality and the new rules it brings into our curriculum and pedagogy, the more grounded, humanizing, and transformational our teaching and courses will become,” Ravitch said.

An illustration from The Decameron, showing people sitting in a circle telling a story.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
August 12, 2020
Abby Reisman says historical inquiry gives students a space to think deeply about the past and consider how it connects to and shapes the present.
Jonathan Zimmerman, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
July 27, 2020
, Newsday

Wanted: A Civilian Coronavirus Corps

Jonathan Zimmerman advocated for a program that would enlist college students and other young adults to support school-aged children with online learning and extracurricular activities in exchange for a small stipend during the pandemic.  

Penn GSE News
 | 
July 21, 2020
Catalyst @ Penn GSE Executive Director Michael Golden, left, and John Gamba, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Director of Innovative Programs at Catalyst.

Lessons on what education might look like in the fall, the value in remote networking, and why conferences might look different in the future.

Penn GSE News
 | 
July 17, 2020
A boardroom with two empty large leather chairs in front of bookcases.

Peter Eckel, an expert on higher education management governance, warns that due to the pandemic, higher education may face a shortage of leadership.

Penn GSE News
 | 
July 16, 2020
Penn GSE's Howard Stevenson

Howard Stevenson is an expert on racial literacy. Here’s what people have asked him this summer.

Press Releases
 | 
June 25, 2020
Higher education experts call on state governors to form taskforces to reorient higher education coming out of the current crisis
Penn GSE News
 | 
June 25, 2020
Scott Pattison, left, and Joni Finney.

Principles to guide state policymakers through higher education’s trying summer and beyond.

Karen Weaver, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
June 20, 2020
, LA Times

Mid-major conferences brace for inevitable cuts in sports budgets because of pandemic

Karen Weaver discussed how enrollment totals may impact sports budgets for colleges and universities.

Karen Weaver, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
June 11, 2020
, KWY News Radio

Big questions about COVID-19 and athletics before college sports come back

Karen Weaver discussed the college sports landscape and the big questions universities and athletics programs are tackling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Penn GSE News
 | 
June 8, 2020
Marsha Richardson, right, leads a discussion at Penn GSE in 2019.

Leading an EDTECH WEEK Masterclass, Marsha Richardson said educators need to take care of their own wellness needs, as well as those of their students.

Howard C. Stevenson, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
June 4, 2020
, USA Today

Kids need to talk about George Floyd, protests and racism. With coronavirus school closures, it's hard to do.

Howard Stevenson said, "Teachers can be incredibly powerful in teaching young people to engage in these conversations rather than avoid them."

Penn GSE News
 | 
May 28, 2020
Pennsylvania mail-in ballots for the 2020 primary election.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shifted Rand Quinn’s class online this spring, his students decided their main project should change too.

Caroline L. Watts, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 24, 2020
, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Why many Philly students aren’t logging on for school, and what that could mean for September

Caroline Watts commented on the six weeks it took for the Philadelphia school district to distribute laptops to its students after Gov. Wolf ordered schools to close. “The greater the lag in the time off, the harder it is to engage students,” said Watts. 

Karen Weaver, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 22, 2020
, Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Cut sports? Trim coaches’ pay? A look at Gophers’ financial solutions amid coronavirus

Karen Weaver said she has seen some ideas to address the crisis, but real strategies are still lacking.

Penn GSE News
 | 
May 21, 2020
Howard Stevenson

Howard Stevenson on what COVID-19 has revealed about race and health.

Press Releases
 | 
May 20, 2020
With pandemic budget cuts looming, Laura Perna says policymakers should prioritize low-income college students. "If they are forced off the path now, they are the least likely to make it back on."
Ryan S. Baker, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 20, 2020
, USA Today Online

Online programs used for coronavirus-era school promise results. The claims are misleading

Ryan Baker said “A lot of these companies, it’s a matter of life or death if they get some evidence up on their page. No one is trying to be deceitful. (They’re) all kind of out of their depth and all trying to do it cheaply and quickly.”

Karen Weaver, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 17, 2020
, PennLive Sports Insider

Can college athletes really play in the fall without a vaccine? One big 10 coaching vet thinks it’s crazy talk

Karen Weaver is interviewed about the issues surrounding college athletics returning in the fall in the face of coronavirus pandemic.

Karen Weaver, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 14, 2020
, Full Court Press

Overtime: College athletic programs will have to operate differently due to COVID-19

Karen Weaver talks about the importance of college sports on campuses and the impact on college athletics from the pandemic.

Laura W. Perna, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 14, 2020
, The New York Times

Campus life in the fall? A test with no clear answer

Laura Perna said of colleges’ approaches to the fall 2020 semester, “I think we are going to see a lot of variation.” 

Sharon M. Ravitch, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 11, 2020
, Elevate with Spark! podcast

Living and teaching in flux

"As educators, we have to find active ways to nourish ourselves, connect with each other, and really think about this moment." — Sharon Ravitch

Penn GSE News
 | 
May 11, 2020
Penn GSE director of Career and Professional Development Amy Benedict, left, meets with a student in 2019 to discuss career planning

Penn GSE’s Amy Benedict on the art of virtual networking, lessons learned from the Great Recession, and charting a path to a dream job.

Peter Eckel, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 8, 2020
, Philadelphia Magazine Online

Philly Colleges Planning for In-Person Classes This Fall: What We Know

Peter Eckel said, “Part of the challenge is the complexity of the issues that university boards are facing. There is also a degree of unpredictability regarding short-term challenges, like enrollment and finances, endowments and financial resources, but also safety and security in the future. We don’t know if there’s going to be a new normal, a next normal, or return to normal.”

Robert M. Zemsky, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 8, 2020
, Inside Higher Education

Public and private measures of colleges' financial strength spark more discussion Inside Higher Ed

Robert Zemsky said, in the face of the pandemic, colleges with 1,500 or fewer students are facing the question of how much they can shrink and continue to function.

Penn GSE News
 | 
May 7, 2020
Students walk across a college campus in the fall.

Penn AHEAD brought together administrators from across the country to discuss how pandemic has affected their schools, and how they are evaluating their future.

Ryan S. Baker, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 4, 2020
, Vox

Paranoia about cheating is making online education terrible for everyone

Ryan Baker discussed adaptive learning, which can use algorithms to adapt lessons to individual students, as well as other computer-based learning tools. 

Penn GSE News
 | 
May 4, 2020
From left, CNN’s Erica Hill, Penn GSE graduate Sundai Riggins, and CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, appear on ABCs of COVID-19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents. (CNN)

Sundai Riggins, a Penn GSE graduate and principal in Washington, DC, appeared on a CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall to talk about how the pandemic is affecting kids and parents.

Robert M. Zemsky, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
May 1, 2020
, The Washington Post Online

College students want answers about fall, but schools may not have them for months

Robert Zemsky said, “It’s revenue pressure, and the sense that ‘if we’re the one that doesn’t open, we lose our share of the market permanently.’”

Karen Weaver, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
April 30, 2020
, The Athletic

With football in flux, how Michigan could weather a financial downturn

Karen Weaver discussed some issues that colleges athletics programs are facing during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Robert M. Zemsky, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
April 30, 2020
, The Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus pushes colleges to the breaking point, forcing ‘hard choices’ about education

In his book The College Stress Test, Robert Zemsky predicted that 10% of private, liberal arts colleges in the U.S. were likely to close within the next five years. Now, with the pandemic’s damaging effects on school finances, his prediction has changed to 200 schools in the next year alone. 

Penn GSE News
 | 
April 30, 2020
Jasmine Blanks Jones works with a student artist at B4 Youth Theater.

When Ebola hit Liberia, Penn GSE student Jasmine Blanks Jones’ youth theater company took on conspiracy theories and a lack of trust in the government. If that sounds familiar, she has ideas for improving messaging during the pandemic.

Robert M. Zemsky, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
April 28, 2020
, ABC News Online

Coronavirus pandemic brings staggering losses to colleges and universities

Robert Zemsky, in his new book, The College Stress Test, estimates that 10 percent of the nation’s colleges – smaller schools with poor retention rates – were already at risk of closing. Now, he said, “we think another 10 percent is at risk because of the virus.”

Penn GSE News
 | 
April 22, 2020
Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher in a classroom.

In the debut of her Parent Scoop podcast, Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher discusses the most important things parents and kids can do while they are stuck at home.

Zachary Herrmann, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
April 22, 2020
, Edutopia

4 Guiding Questions for Effective Remote Collaboration

"Teamwork has traditionally played a critical role in schools, and while many of us find ourselves physically isolated, our collaborative work with one another may be more important now than ever," Zachary Herrmann writes.

Penn GSE News
 | 
April 16, 2020
Sharon Wolf talks with a student in her office.

‘This pandemic is going to have consequences for children,’ Wolf says.

A house with drawings of rainbows in the window.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
April 7, 2020
Advice on dealing with short tempers, screen time, and what to do when your child wants to get a dog during lockdown.
An illustration of key points in this article.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
April 7, 2020
College instructors have moved their courses online, but Penn GSE's Sharon Ravitch says they need to do more to meet their students' needs during this pandemic. Here, she gives ideas for instructors to consider.
Peter Eckel, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
April 2, 2020
, Inside Higher Education

Colleges Can Help Win the War Against COVID-19

Peter Eckel and Turab Rizvi write that higher education institutions are well positioned to lead efforts beyond campus borders by advancing experts and their expertise, sharing excess capacity, and supporting community needs.

Robert M. Zemsky, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
March 31, 2020
, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The bailout is just the start: Why higher ed needs to build a sustainable model

Robert Zemsky said that “dislodging events,” such as COVID-19, can force needed changes in education. 

Penn GSE News
 | 
March 31, 2020
A family crowds around a dining room table working on homework.

Give each other space. Create norms. And remember, you can play ping-pong on your dining room table.

A family schedule written on a chalkboard.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
March 31, 2020
Staying at home has broken routines for both children and parents. Planning your day, breaks and all, can help.
Karen Weaver, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
March 27, 2020
, The Philadelphia Inquirer

College sports will be hit hard, and will not be the same economically after the coronavirus

Karen Weaver talks through the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic on college athletics departments.

A student sits and works at a laptop computer.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
March 27, 2020
You have already built a classroom culture that can carry you and your students through the year, with a few adaptations.
Alan R. Ruby, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
March 25, 2020
, Education World Online

QS IGAUGE: COVID-19, second wind for higher education in India

Alan Ruby said, “There will be a deterrent effect, especially on international students. The choice of destination for study abroad is influenced by perceptions about personal safety. The virus, and the response to it, is a reminder that health services and hygiene standards are not what some students are familiar with.”

Jonathan Zimmerman, Penn GSE
In the Media
 | 
March 20, 2020
, Education Week Online

When Schools Shut Down, We All Lose

Jonathan Zimmerman writes, “Schools are always implicated in national crises, always,” pointing to schools’ role selling war bonds during World War I and cultivating victory gardens in World War II. “But in prior crises, they were engaged in the struggle, because it was a struggle against a human enemy rather than a biological one. This is a struggle against a biological one that requires schools not to step up, but to stand down.”

An instructor appears on a computer screen delivering an online college lesson.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
March 18, 2020
Set norms. Check emotional health. And remember that your students might already be pretty good at this.
Penn GSE News
 | 
March 6, 2020
A child sits at a computer working on an online learning exercise.

We asked online education expert Ryan Baker what school leaders and parents should be thinking about it. His advice: be flexible — and don’t discount library books.

An image of a COVID-19 virus.
The Educator's Playbook
 | 
March 4, 2020
Caroline Watts says parents can help kids feel stable, safe, and secure while also taking the outbreak very seriously.

Media Inquiries

Kat Stein
Executive Director of Penn GSE Communications
(215) 898-9642
katstein@gse.upenn.edu

Jeff Frantz
Senior Associate Director of Penn GSE Communications
(215) 898-3269
frantzj@gse.upenn.edu