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News-O-Matic Survey Reveals Teachers’ Challenges with Distance Learning

COVID-19 has upended the lives of teachers and students around the world. Most educators experienced rapid and unexpected transitions to distance learning, forcing them to adapt their traditional curriculum and navigate entirely new ways of teaching. To learn more about how the pandemic has disrupted education, News-O-Matic conducted a survey of 271 teachers from May 5-10. We compiled our findings in a report titled “Preparing for the ‘COVID-19 Slide.’” Here are a few of our insights about distance learning over the past few months.


To start, 96% of teachers in the survey reported that their schools closed before April 1. Specifically, 65% of educators across all school types transitioned to distance learning between March 16 and March 31. Many private school teachers in the survey reported that their institutions closed sooner, with 43% shutting their doors by March 15. The chart below details when schools closed, as well as how private school closings compare with closings of all types of schools (public, private, and other).

COVID-19 School Closures


Our survey found that in the wake of school closures, 95% of educators began teaching their students remotely. Our survey also revealed some of teachers’ main challenges in implementing distance learning. Among seven choices, teachers rated a lack of school-wide preparation as the most significant challenge. Other highly challenging factors included “keeping students engaged” and “tracking students’ progress” during remote instruction. Overall, student access to internet and 1:1 devices were considered somewhat or moderately challenging. Teachers had the fewest challenges with finding distance learning resources or kid-friendly resources for talking about the pandemic.

Distance Learning Challenges


It remains unclear how long distance learning will be in place. Only 3% of teachers in the survey said their schools planned to reopen before summer vacation, and 82% of respondents were “unsure” if school buildings would reopen in the fall. With so much still up in the air, qualitative feedback from teachers indicated that they are eager to maintain distance learning resources going into summer and fall.

To discover the full survey findings, download the “Preparing for the ‘COVID-19 Slide’” report.

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