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CEA Guidance for At Home Learning

Every teacher must start with this idea. No one knows how long working at home for teachers and students will last but it could extend to the end of the school year, and we do know that the pressures and expectations of this new paradigm can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay healthy and rested:

  • Take regular breaks.
  • Make time to exercise.
  • Keep to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Limit distractions when possible (turn off social media notifications, for example).
  • Set daily and weekly goals.
  • Make time to socialize virtually with family and friends.
  • Limit the time when you can be contacted to ensure you have time to recharge, be with family, and prepare for the next day.
  • Access Employee Assistance Program or other mental healthcare options to help meet any unique challenges.

Links and articles:

Education Week—Here’s How to Prevent Burnout During a School Closure

CNN—How to Work from Home Without Losing Your Sanity

The situation students face at home will vary from home to home. Some parents will be able to actively assist their children with schooling at home. Some will still be working outside the home. Some families will not have access to Wi-Fi or certain technology. And some will face pressing economic hardships because of loss of jobs, income, and health insurance. Work with your school administration to consider:

  • Parental inability to assist, particularly if parents work from home and are occupied or don’t have the expertise to assist.
  • Whether students have Wi-Fi access or whether the district provides hotspots.
  • Special education and IEPs – see links and articles below.
  • Work to ensure that all of your students have equal access to the resources you are using.

Links and articles:

Education Week: “How Will Schools Provide Special Education?

Federal Guidelines on Special Needs Students

Federal Guidelines on Student Privacy

Guidance on Special Education and IEPs

Many have said this is the classic “build the plane while flying it” situation. That is true, yet this crisis—the health threat of COVID-19/coronavirus—has created an important challenge we are addressing in each district. While we meet this challenge, we must remember the old expression “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” In striving to provide engaging content and learning for our students, we should not be discouraged if things are not perfect, but rather provide the best materials and learning opportunities we can under changing circumstances.

  • Work with the administration to provide helplines and FAQs to assist parents and students in navigating the online or distance learning delivery system. Provide similar FAQs and assistance among and between teachers, to assist them in this ongoing learn-at-home process.
  • Use step-by-step guides.
  • Provide clear daily communication.
  • Establish policies on grading, participation, monitoring, and online attendance.
  • Set daily schedules – consider two check-in times; spreading one day over two; using school hours.
  • Ensure ease of access: one stop for assignments, schedules, information.
  • Practice—build in time to test your delivery systems.
  • Consider how all students can have access to the highest quality resources offered by your district.

Links and articles:

Comprehensive Guidance for Remote Learning from CA Department of Education

CNN, Tips From a Teacher to Parents on How to Help Teach Students at Home

FAQs from Connecticut Children’s Hospital for Parents Regarding COVID-19/coronavirus

State of Connecticut Comprehensive Coronavirus Website

While there is no replacing direct, in-person teaching and learning in the classroom, the concern for quality must be a priority in any distance or supplemental learning program. Consider the following:

  • Deliver instruction and activities in small chunks.
  • Institute rules for participation.
  • Use prompt feedback and online knowledge checks, collaborative documents/projects.
  • To help provide the human connection, include virtual meetings and classes, live chats, and video tutorials.
  • Limit use of tools/apps to avoid confusion. Use a few, but use them well.
  • Make sure any apps and online services that you use are of high caliber.
  • Be mindful of student data privacy restrictions (see guidance below).
  • Ensure online good citizenship and proper dialogue to avoid negative comments or bullying.
  • Remember that design of learning should not be dependent on parental assistance.
  • Parents should receive information on how to be supportive (as opposed to instructional).

Links and articles:

Creating Teacher Video Messages for Your Students

Planning Apps to Assist Teachers During School Closures

Student Data Privacy and Virtual Learning Guidance

We want to hear from you. Share your concerns or issues with what is going on in your district or with online learning, as well as best practices and stories about what’s happening by emailing us at info@cea.org.

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