A new blueprint for schools

By Thomas Arnett and Chelsea Waite
June 2020
Vol. 41, No. 3
This spring, as schools grappled with sudden closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the phrase “building the plane as we fly it” was no exaggeration. Practically overnight, schools had to figure out an entirely different modality of instruction. And though the 2019-20 school year is behind us, it’s looking like new challenges are likely in the cards this fall, ranging from requirements to follow social distancing guidelines to rolling closures in response to localized COVID-19 outbreaks. As researchers of K-12 innovation, our last decade studying digital learning has taught us that there’s no one-size-fits-all blueprint, even in normal circumstances. The varied and unpredictable effects of the global pandemic on schools and families further underscore this reality. So rather than lay out the nuts and bolts

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Thomas Arnett and Chelsea Waite

Thomas Arnett ( is a senior research fellow and Chelsea Waite ( is a research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute.


Roberto, M.A. (2016, December 20). Decision making: Framing risk and opportunity. The Great Courses Daily.

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