National Survey of Public Education’s Response to COVID-19

Image of young boy and girl looking at a tablet together

Project Overview: Learning from the Pandemic

All of us—students, parents, educators, policymakers, and researchers—share an interest in learning from this event. To improve services to students and families as we move forward, we need information on what districts and charter management organizations are doing and plan to do to address COVID-19. Part of the AIR Equity Initiative, this project's main goals are to document this moment in education and to provide actionable information to educators, policymakers, and researchers to inform future education practices beyond the initial public health crisis.

The project was recognized in the inaugural 2022 Anthem Awards, which honor organizations and people who are doing work for social good across a variety of areas.

Project Timeline

  • First Survey: In summer 2020, we asked school district and charter management organization leaders to respond to a nationally representative survey of school districts and charter management organizations—more than 2,500 in total—about the actions they have taken and the challenges they have encountered during the COVID-19-related school closures.
  • Second Survey & Interviews: In spring 2021, the team administered a second survey to all school districts across the U.S. and conducted interviews with school district administrators on promising practices identified through survey responses.

Results At-a-Glance

Data Story

Looking Back to Go Forward: Lessons Learned About Teaching and Learning During the Pandemic uses interactive graphics and videos to succinctly share the major findings and promising practices from across the entire project. 

PERC data story screenshot


A 508 compliant version of the data story is also available.



Study Results

Quantitative Data: Use the Interactive Data Tool & Examine Research Briefs

Explore quantitative data findings, including an interactive data tool and in-depth research briefs.

Qualitative Data: Find Promising Practices

Explore qualitative data findings, including an interactive data matrix with promising practices by district demographics and district profiles of challenges and promising practices.


    Podcast: Listen to our communications lead discuss crucial findings from the research briefs and how schools can take action to promote more equitable learning opportunities for all students.

    Webinar: How COVID-19 Affected Education for Students with Disabilities and English Learners—The Latest Results from a National Survey (October 21, 2020) View the presentation slides (PDF).

    Image of four logos for survey supporters

    Letters of Support

    AASA, The School Superintendents Association (PDF)
    Council of Chief State School Officers (PDF)
    Education Commission of the States (PDF)
    National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (PDF)

    Quantitative Data: Use the Interactive Data Tool and Examine Research Briefs

    Research Briefs (June/July 2021)

    Screenshot of COVID-19 Survey Data ToolInteractive Data Tool

    This data exploration tool provides actionable data to educators, policymakers, and researchers to inform future education practices beyond the initial public health crisis.  (The tool currently displays data for districts; data for charter management organizations will be part of a future update.)

    Research Brief (April 2021)

    Research Briefs (February 2021)

    Research Briefs (October 2020)

    Preliminary Results (July 2020)

    Technical Supplements

    Qualitative Data: Find Promising Practices

    Qualitative Briefs: District Profiles of Challenges and Promising Practices (November 2021)

    For more information on the overall findings across interviews and the methodology, check out the Findings Summary.

    In May and June 2021, AIR interviewed 20 district leaders about the challenges and promising practices they implemented to help address common, pandemic-related challenges during the 2020–21 school year. Six common themes emerged across interviews: