With the COVID-19 outbreak, we understand you are planning for a range of possible circumstances. Our team joined together to help you in this process. As a start, we organized several resources and recommendations for school leaders and teachers in our COVID-19 Resource Center

One very real possibility is the closing of schools. We have compiled a list of six key priorities that will help school and district leaders plan for continued learning in the event students cannot come to school. See the six priorities below as well as a downloadable planning template. We hope you find this helpful. Please let us know how we can continue to support your efforts by reaching out to us via email at info@linclearning.com or on Twitter @linc_pd


Plan for Continued Student Learning in the Event of School Closing
(Editable Template here)

1. Establish Communication Structures and Protocolschat icon Communications Protocols (How, when and where?)
  • Develop your system for how the community (teachers, parents, students) will connect and communicate with one another. You may want to consider a Learning Management System (LMS) if you don’t already have one.
  • Establish and clearly communicate norms for how you will work together? Eg. When and how do we expect members of the community to check in or be online? How will we share information?
  • Create an online space for families to ask questions, leave feedback and communicate.
  • Create a landing page on the school or district website to update families and provide answers to frequently asked questions. See this sample from the Northshore School District.
Determine how assignments will be shared with students and collected by teachers. 

Decide on how teachers should take attendance and know when students are “absent.”

Determine protocols for what teachers should do if students are absent.

Consider virtual office hours for teachers. 

Create a space for teachers to communicate, collaborate, and ask questions. 

Be sure there is someone assigned to provide timely feedback and responses.
2. Set Clear Expectations for Remote Structures and Routines School Structure and Routines
  • Establish what your “virtual” school day will look like.
  • Determine what  being “present” is for students and teachers.
  • Set expectations for student and teacher workload.
  • Set routines for the “school day”.
  • See Sample of Virtual School Guidelines.
  • See Sample tips for families. Feel free to adapt.  (To make your own copy to edit in Google Docs, go to File, Make a Copy).
Consider starting with asynchronous learning at first while teachers, students and families are getting adjusted and then move to synchronous. 

Consider surveying families throughout to get feedback and act on it if necessary. 

Provide family support – It is imperative that families stay informed and feel supported during this time. 

Create a one-stop shop for online resources as well as determining a strategy for sharing information with families who do not have digital access at home.

3. Get Your Teachers and Distance Learning Toolkit Ready!

  • Start to prepare your teachers now for blended and digital learning. This is a great opportunity to onboard them to more intentional tech integration.
  • Identify a virtual professional development solution to continue to support teachers. We have created a playlist in LINCspring focused on preparing teachers specifically for distance learning. See more here. 
  • Curate your school’s toolkit of digital and distance learning tools. Here is a great resource of various tools to consider. 
Some districts are closing a day early to provide training to teachers.

If possible hold daily staff virtual meetings where teachers share best practices.

See our Educator Resource List with ideas and resources for remote learning.

This list provides tools providing the pro version for free to closed schools. 

4. Plan for Access to Technology and Your Digital Toolkit

  • Establish a plan for how students will access technology and other resources for learning.
  • Consider the technology your students already have access to – you can get creative here ie mobile phones, tablets, etc.
  • Consider the technology your Teachers have access to – what additional resources do they need to facilitate ongoing learning for Students and stay connected to the community?
Start to onboard your students to available technology and tools now. Get them set up with accounts and necessary log-in information on your selected tools. Train students before they leave 

Communicate with families of the tools students will be using. Send home instructions/video for accessing online platforms/digital tools. Prepare them to think about space for students at home or other places for focused learning time. 

Students will have all sorts of devices, make sure the learning is compatible with cell phones, older devices, etc.
Consider student equity and ensure students go home with devices (wherever possible) and passwords

5. Establish Community Connections

  • Connect with community members such as libraries and community centers to find out who will be open during your closure.
Determine whether students can gain access to devices and WiFi at local centers such as libraries or community centers. 

Let families know where students can get meals they would normally get during the school day.

Share all relevant information regularly with families both digitally and through community partners

6. Take care of your community – Social and Emotional Care

There are many changes taking place and many unknowns which may heighten anxiety. 

Make the social and emotional care of your community a priority. 
  • Consider asking teachers to hold an Advisory period to keep students connected to each other and create the community they had in the classroom. 
Have a plan for students who may struggle adapting to online learning that engages them and their families through regular phone calls and other communication.

Access editable version of this template for your school plan here.