RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) –The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has received a three-year, $999,912 federal grant to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public schools in the Commonwealth.

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane made the announcement Wednesday, March 3.

“The research funded through this grant will be critical as our schools move beyond the immediate concerns of reopening and shift their focus to addressing the short-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic and school closures on student outcomes and school operations. Our goal is to provide a series of evidence-based policy briefs that will provide practical and actionable information, and help shape policies that prioritize and promote equity during what will be a multiyear recovery process.”

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane

Officials say the grant will support researchers from the VDOE and the University of Virginia while they analyze pre- and post-pandemic trends through the 2022-2023 school year involving student absenteeism, grade-level retention, enrollment in advanced courses and career and technical education programs, identification of students with disabilities and English learners, student mobility, and teacher retention.

In addition, researchers will reportedly examine the effectiveness of school reopening and recovery plans in addressing the impact of the pandemic on students and teachers.

The objective of the project — which is called “Equity in Virginia’s Public Education System: A Longitudinal Examination Spanning the COVID-19 Shutdown” — is to provide a body of practically focused research to inform decision-making and policies at the state and local levels, according to the VDOE.

“There is a tremendous need for rigorous evidence to help students, teachers, and schools recover from the significant disruptions caused by the pandemic. Our ongoing collaboration with VDOE will be able to address that need thanks to the support of this grant.”

Luke C. Miller, research associate professor and the project’s leader at UVA’s School of Education and Human Development

The award is from the Institute of Education Sciences’ Using Longitudinal Data to Support State Policymaking grant program.