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Connecting in crisis: Talking access to broadband, education, and faith on First in Future

We know disruption prompts systems change. Remember Katrina and the impact on the schools in New Orleans? Closer to home, remember Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence and how our schools in eastern North Carolina responded and then changed in response to the crisis?

At EdNC, we are documenting the process of systems change now underway in schools across North Carolina. Our students experience of learning is changing, and the changes will beg the question…what is the role of the school building going forward? The role of our teachers and schools leaders will change. And our system of education will change also. Right now, the system is working to find the right balance of statewide guidance and local flexibility.

Leslie Boney, director of the Institute for Emerging Issues, is hosting a series of virtual conversations discussing the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) and some of the ways our state is responding in education and beyond.

Take a listen to hear Jeff Sural, director of NC’s broadband infrastructure office, talk about access, adoption, and all the things we need to know to stay connected while we stay in place. I’ll be talking about the very real needs of our students, our schools, and our community colleges. And Rep. James Gailliard, D-Nash, who is a pastor at Word Tabernacle, talks about faith and how we maximize this moment.

For links and more information, here is my presentation (shout out to EdNC’s Carol Bono for the very beautiful slides):

When disruption happens, change management becomes even more important as we collectively reinvent the world as we know it. As Yuval Noah Harari writes in this article on what the year 2050 has in store for humankind, “To survive and flourish in such a world, you will need a lot of mental flexibility and great reserves of emotional balance.”

Stay tuned at, and if you see systems change happening in your schools and communities in response to coronavirus, let me know at

Behind the Story

Artwork for this article is by Carol Bono.

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.

Carol Bono

Carol Bono is the Communications Manager of LatinxEd and an award-winning bilingual multimedia storyteller.