Pickerington students in September.
Pickerington Local School District / Facebook

Some Ohio K-12 students returned to in-person schooling Monday with new COVID-19 rules in place – no longer having to quarantine at home if they were exposed to the virus in their classroom.

A student uses an iPad in a Hilliard classroom.
Columbus Neighborhoods / WOSU

Ohio students in K-12 schools no longer have to quarantine if they're considered a close contact of another student who tested positive for COVID-19.

Updated: 4:50 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020

The process of vaccinating health care workers and people living in nursing homes is going too slowly, according to Gov. Mike DeWine.

For American families and their children, school is more than just a building. It's a social life and a community, an athletic center and a place to get meals that aren't available at home. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted — and continues to disrupt — the lives of U.S. students in profound ways.

Until very recently, it looked like the Ohio legislature might finally overhaul the state's school funding system, which was declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court more than 20 years ago. But even with broad bipartisan support, the Ohio Fair School Funding Plan ultimately stalled in the Senate this month. So will this legislation have a future in 2021? Morning Edition host Amy Eddings speaks with ideastream education reporter Jenny Hamel about what comes next.

A yellow school bus with snow on the roof chugs up to the front door of Bucksport High School in Maine, where Principal Josh Tripp greets the handful of late-arriving students as they drag themselves inside.

Tripp is just glad they've shown up in a year when school is half online, sports and clubs have been curtailed, and the world can seem as cold and gray as a winter morning in this sparsely populated coastal town.

Updated: 4:21 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020

The state will provide vaccines to school staff in early 2021 to encourage a return to in-person learning, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

Any school moving from remote to in-person learning will have access to vaccines for adults working in the buildings as part of the state’s second stage of vaccine distribution, the governor said, which is coming after healthcare workers and those living and working in congregate care settings are vaccinated.

The new federal coronavirus relief bill awaiting President Trump’s signature includes $54 billion for K-12 schools nationwide. The amount is four times more than schools received through the CARES Act, passed in March, but far less than what Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon asked Congress for this summer.

Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Miguel Cardona, the head of Connecticut's public schools, to be his secretary of education.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Biden called Cardona a "lifelong champion of public education."

Cardona makes true on an early Biden promise to pick an education secretary who was a teacher: "A teacher. Promise," Biden told the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, back in July 2019.

Learning isn’t easy for students or parents during a pandemic, with classrooms closed and lessons delivered remotely.

It’s not easy for teachers, either. In front of a computer screen instead of a classroom, they work to keep their often distracted students engaged, but not overwhelmed. They miss the interaction in-person schooling affords – the chance to help with emotional issues or simply to give and receive a reassuring hug.

And many teachers are parents themselves, teaching their students while also supervising their own children’s learning. It’s a lot.

Updated on Dec. 30 at 11:15 a.m. ET

President Trump has signed a major legislative package that includes coronavirus relief and government spending for the next fiscal year.

Just after Congress passed the bill last week — and shortly before Christmas — the president called the measure a "disgrace," in part for not having high enough direct payments to Americans, a move his own party had been against.

All throughout high school, Brian Williams planned to go to college. But as the pandemic eroded the final moments of his senior year, the Stafford, Texas, student began to second-guess that plan.

"I'm terrible at online school," Williams says. He was barely interested in logging on for his final weeks of high school; being online for his first semester at Houston Community College felt unbearable.

"I know what works best for me, and doing stuff on the computer doesn't really stimulate me in the same way an actual class would."