Back-to-School Stocks for a Virtual-School World

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 7:15 AM | Nick Dey

The number of coronavirus cases continues to spike in much of the US, leading to increased worries about reopening schools. According to a poll conducted by the Associated Press, only 8% of Americans support fully reopening schools while another 14% support reopenings with minor adjustments. Even President Trump’s position on the topic has begun to shift, as he said last Thursday that some schools may need to delay reopening.

How school districts are deciding to handle the fall varies greatly from county to county as there really aren’t very specific guidelines being given to the school systems by state or federal governments on how to handle the situation. This has created a variety of responses across the country, ranging from masked in-person classrooms, to completely remote classrooms, to infinitely varied hybrid approaches that allot varying amounts of planned in-person and remote learning times throughout the day or week.

While the uncertainty about what school will look like is a logistical nightmare for school boards and parents across the country, the decisions being made are creating ample opportunities for short and medium-term investors. Schools around the country are scrambling to find and acquire the necessary resources to provide a proper education for their students, drastically increasing demand for remote-education related products.

Zoom (ZM):

Zoom is an online meeting/classroom platform that connects students and teachers via video chats. Zoom is one of the most-obvious winners from remote schooling, as many school systems, including Los Angeles, the country’s second largest school district, have already selected the video streaming service to be part of their remote-learning solution.

Boxlight (BOXL):

Boxlight creates a variety of remote-learning tools that range from teaching a whole class to small-group learning. Boxlight’s innovative products such as the MimioTeach, a white-board attachment that turns any whiteboard into a smart board, makes it a company that investors should pay attention as schools gear up for the fall.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMHC):

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  is an education company that was founded in 1832 and could profit heavily from remote learning. HMHC has a variety of existing products that are geared to a variety of age groups. It likely has a foot-in-the-door with many school districts across the country due to its large text book business.

Barnes and Noble Education (BNED):

Barnes and Noble education was spun out of the largest retail-bookstore chain in the United States. The company's offerings include full-service college bookstores, online retail of course materials and a suite of software products aimed at students in all levels of schooling.

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