Reflecting on the Educational Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The third Access and Engagement report serves as a follow-up to two prior studies conducted earlier in the pandemic. The first, Access and Engagement I, investigated the impacts of the rapid transition from in-person to remote learning early in the pandemic. Access and Engagement II gathered data in November 2020, documenting the experiences of children, families, and educators across a patchwork of differing educational delivery models.

Access and Engagement III adds to these earlier findings and continues the story as schools gradually returned to in-person teaching. In addition to survey data from educators, the current study features qualitative findings, obtained through focus groups and interviews, sharing personal accounts of challenges, successes, and reflections on the potential long-term impacts of the pandemic. These findings point to both systemic and COVID-specific issues limiting the educational success of children who are blind or have low vision. The study also highlights perspectives that were not specifically included in the first two studies—information shared by administrators of schools for blind students, families of children with multiple disabilities, and Spanish-speaking families of blind and low-vision children.

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