ATLANTA—Public schools in Georgia closed in mid-March 2020, and students transitioned to remote learning for the remainder of the school year. When students returned to school in fall 2020, some districts offered the opportunity to receive face-to-face instruction for at least part of the week, while other districts either did not have that option or parents chose to keep students at home.
The federal government responded to the unprecedented change in learning modes by authorizing the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, a temporary benefit for children who were without access to free or reduced-price school meals during the 2020–21 school year. In Georgia, the Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) worked closely with its existing partners in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, the Georgia Policy Labs and the Georgia Health Policy Center, to help design and implement the program.
Implementing Georgia’s P-EBT program required the collection of learning mode data—whether students learned in-person, virtually, or through a combination of both via a hybrid approach—for every public school in Georgia. Now, the Georgia Policy Labs at Georgia State University has publicly released the learning mode data originally collected to implement P-EBT successfully.
The Georgia Policy Labs and Georgia Health Policy Center collaborated with DFCS and the Georgia Department of Education to collect monthly learning mode information during the 2020–2021 school year via a statewide survey of school districts and charter schools in summer 2021. Before P-EBT, limited systematic attempt had been made to record schools’ learning modes during the pandemic.
“The first step in processing what happened during the 2020–2021 school year is to understand how students were learning,” said Thomas Goldring, research director of the Georgia Policy Labs. “These new data give parents, policymakers, and researchers a comprehensive view of what happened in each school in Georgia and will help to facilitate analyses of the impacts of that unprecedented school year.”
The new data and documentation are freely available at this link.