Kayla Lim

No Students Left Behind?: Technological Interventions during the COVID-19 School Shut Down

Faculty Mentor: Mary Christianakis, Critical Theory & Social Justice Department

Major: Critical Theory & Social Justice

Funding: Undergraduate Research Center Summer Research Fellowship


As of March 20th 2020, there were at least 104,000 school closures affecting 47.9 million students as coronavirus fears spread across the country and states pressured schools to shut down in order to keep students safe. K-12 curricula has transitioned to online classes which has exposed inequalities such as reliance on parent’s support, access to technological resources, and space for a safe and adequate learning environment. Yet other students, due to limited access to technology, are picking up and dropping off hardcopy “packets” of worksheets to complete at home which reiterates the already existing digital divide. This article examines and identifies the inequalities with online learning during the pandemic through the perspectives of teachers. This study includes interviews with 30 teachers and educators who have taught through the school shutdown and have shared their experiences working with students, parents, and the school district. Teachers have expressed concerns for the reliance of homelife and parents, loss of communities in classrooms, extra help for students with learning accommodations, and mental health as prominent barriers during the pandemic. However, they have also defined some highlights of online learning such as student autonomy and students creating their own daily schedule. We examine the question: what does it mean to hold students “accountable” for course material during the pandemic? Moreover, what are the violent and racist practices of schooling that occurred before the pandemic that will continue when we return to what was defined as “normal”?

Watch my research presentation below.

Questions or comments? Contact me at: klim2@oxy.edu

View the presentation slideshow