In late February 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic was forcing widespread shutdowns across China, Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the possibility of K-12 school closings in the United States. Prompted by that comment, in a February 27, 2020 Op-Ed to the Baltimore Sun, bioethicist Ruth Faden wrote, “As in all public health emergencies, poor children and poor families will suffer the most.” Dr. Faden called for policies that not only meet the bar of public health necessity, but also included “active measures to mitigate the disproportionate burden that will fall on our most vulnerable children.”
The eSchool+ Initiative was established in response to that call. Dr. Faden, together with Dr. Megan Collins, an ophthalmologist and bioethicist who co-directs the Johns Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions, Dr. Annette Anderson, education leader, former principal, and Deputy Director of the Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, and Dr. Sara Johnson, a health disparities researcher as well as co-director of the Consortium and the Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education, created the eSchool+ Initiative as an interdisciplinary partnership to develop guidance for schools and policy stakeholders to think responsibly and equitably about students during school closures and reopening. The eSchool+ Initiative includes broad representation from the Johns Hopkins Schools of Education, Public Health and Medicine, and the Berman Institute of Bioethics, which Dr. Faden founded. eSchool+ partners bring expertise in ethics, equity and structural injustice, education, school-based health care, food security, and public health policy.
During early spring 2020, the eSchool+ Initiative focused on developing resources for schools to support students during school closures, which impacted more than 50 million K-12 students nationwide. In May 2020, as the national conversation pivoted to reopening, the eSchool+ Initiative team transitioned their efforts towards developing guidance for schools about how to reopen, with an equity lens. All students have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 related school closures. Data suggests that our most disadvantaged students have lost the most and will need the most resources to narrow a widening achievement and welfare gap.
The eSchool+ initiative is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions, Berman Institute of Bioethics, and schools of Education, Medicine, and Public Health. Our team benefits from expertise in ethics, school health, school policy, food security, clinical medicine and education.
Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Education; Deputy Director, Center for Safe and Healthy Schools
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute; Berman Institute of Bioethics, Co-Director, Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions
Founder, Berman Institute of Bioethics; Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics
Associate Faculty, Research Scholar, Berman Institute of Bioethics
PhD Student, UC Berkeley
Education Policy Analyst
MBE Student, Berman Institute of Bioethics
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Department of Mental Health; Co-Director, Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education; Co-Director, Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions
Research Assistant, Wilmer Eye Institute
Assistant Scientist, Bloomberg School of Public Health; Associate Director, Center for Adolescent Health
Dean, School of Education
Futurist At Large, Centers for Civic Impact
Director of Outreach & Research Support; Associate Faculty, Berman Institute of Bioethics
Research Assistant, Berman Institute of Bioethics
Research Assistant, Wilmer Eye Institute; Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions