It’s rare for schools—or even whole districts—to close, yet the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus may have many of you on edge. The national tenor and direction from government officials and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is to remain calm, but prepared.
The flood of daily updates and cases is overwhelming. Parents and students in many regions are asking if there is a plan if and when it will be necessary to close schools to prevent spread of the disease. Your team of administrators may be scrambling to determine next steps on how to support student needs while also keeping them safe.
Addressing the enormity of closing schools is not easy, but it can be helpful to reference examples of how other districts have navigated similar challenges in the past. Throughout several recent natural disasters, blizzards and international epidemics, educators were able to keep students on track using digital learning. This includes the SARS outbreak in 2003, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Schools throughout all of these regions successfully used digital curriculum to support educator and student needs.
This could be a path that you are considering. If so, there are guidelines and experts available to support you with implementing a school or district-wide digital program to keep students on track. A recent report from the Digital Learning Collaborative, eLearning days, evaluates important policy considerations and guidance for structuring and managing a digital learning program in the event of a disaster or to prevent illness.
The report covers policies that allow districts to use online instruction in a way that does not interrupt student learning and also counts towards their attendance and meets district requirements. Currently there are 12 states who have specific virtual learning policies established to support educators and students in unique situations like this one.
The eLearning report outlines additional considerations for an implementation, including: setting goals and expectations, how teachers can prepare, student and parent expectations, device logistics, technology platforms, and many additional guidelines.
When thoughtfully planned, in collaboration with digital learning experts, it is possible to establish meaningful learning opportunities for your students when they are not able to physically attend school.
How Apex Learning Can Help
We have received a number of calls from customers asking how we can support districts if schools need to close. Apex Learning provides viable distance learning opportunities that can help you maintain continuity of learning in the event of a hurricane, flood, illness, or any other needs.
If your district needs to close, we can help you continue to provide high-quality education for your 6-12 students. We will work together with you to help make the transition to a fully virtual situation as easy and as fast as possible. Reach out to us to learn more at www.ApexLearning.com.