In these uneasy times, it’s no surprise that many educators are anxious about back to school that entails returning to the physical classroom. NPR reports that in a national poll, 82% of K-12 teachers say they are concerned about returning to in-person teaching this fall, and two-thirds prefer to teach primarily remotely. Issues range from concerns about their own health and having sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to having sufficient training and prep to be able to teach effectively while maintaining safety for all.
Nevertheless, some schools are already opening and more will be opening soon; others will have delayed openings; and still others will have hybrid plans, a mix of remote and in-person classes. In part, decisions depend on geography and how prevalent Covid-19 is in any given region. Another factor is the safety measures that a school or a community takes to keep students, educators, and school staff safe. One thing is clear – parents and educators alike must be flexible and ready to change plans.
We’ve compiled resources for administrators, educators, and school staff to help in the planning process for the start of a new school year. These resources include links to learn by-location reopening plans, resources for reopening preparation and safety measures, and a variety of remote teaching tools. We’ve also compiled a separate list of Back to School Resources for Parents that might be helpful.
Back to School Reopening Plans
Many school districts are planning delayed school starts or a combination of in-school and distance learning. Check with your state’s Dept of Education website for plans and resources specific to your state. In most states, this is a potentially dynamic situation. Here are a few other sources that are tracking primary, secondary and higher education plans for fall 2020.
- Education Week: Map: Where Are Schools Open? – State-by-state map of where school buildings are open or closed
- School reopenings in the 2020-2021 academic year after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – updated by Ballotopedia
- Inside Higher Ed: August Wave of Campus Reopening Reversals
- Chronicle of Higher Education: Here’s Our New List of Colleges’ Reopening Plans (requires creating an account)
- College Crisis Initiative Dashboard – Davidson College – map of ~3,000 colleges, community colleges, and universities in the US showing their Fall 2020 plans for academic instruction. Sort by plan and/or other filters,
CDC on schooling & prep
- Schools & Childcare
- Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs
- Preparing K-12 School Administrators for a Safe Return to School in Fall 2020
- Colleges, Universities, and Higher Learning
- School Decision-Making Tool for Parents, Caregivers, and Guardians
- Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers
- Returning to School After an Emergency or Disaster: Tips to Help Your Students Cope
Resources from the NEA
- Educating through crisis
- Going Back to a Better School: NEA Issues Guidance on Reopening
- All Hands on Deck: Guidance Regarding Reopening School Buildings – A guide to intentionally planning for school success during COVID-19 and beyond with health, safety, student learning, and equity at the forefront.
- NEA’S Checklist for Safely and Equitably Reopening Schools & Campus Buildings
Resources from Edutopia
- Edutopia: What Summer Schools Learned About the Challenges of Reopening – Across the country, forward-looking districts used summer school to anticipate—and try to solve—some of the issues they’d inevitably face when schools reopened.
- 9 Big Questions Education Leaders Should Ask to Address Covid-19 – Figuring out to how to deal with the summer slide and traumas resulting from the pandemic are just two of the biggest concerns.
- Getting Ready to Teach Next Year – There’s a lot of uncertainty about the 2020–21 school year, but planning for a mix of remote and in-person instruction will help educators be ready.
- How to Plan When You Don’t Know What to Plan For – What school will look like in the fall is still uncertain for most of the U.S., but teachers can develop flexible plans that work for distance and in-class teaching
- 3 Keys to a Better 2020–21 – In response to the upheaval of the pandemic, researchers and the leaders of over 100 schools focused on three fundamental areas of education, whether it’s in person or virtual.
- Safely back to school after coronavirus closures
- Reopening higher-education institutions amid COVID-19
- COVID-19 and US higher education enrollment: Preparing leaders for fall
- Organizing schools to reopen during the COVID-19 crisis – Schools must possess certain capabilities in order to bring back students and teachers. In this McKinsey webinar, experts discuss the challenges that schools often face and how to manage them
- How schools can reopen during the COVID-19 crisis – In this webinar, McKinsey experts discuss how to reopen schools around the globe safely and effectively.
Back to School: More educator resources for school reopening
- American Academy of Pediatrics – COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry
- American Academy of Pediatrics – Return to School During COVID-19
- spaces4learning: Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Schools, Colleges and Universities
- spaces4learning: Living (and Learning) with COVID-19: Best Practices for Reopening Schools
- KidsHealth: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tips for Teachers and Childcare Providers
- 2020 Deloitte back-to-college survey – How are parents preparing for the 2020 academic year? Deloitte’s annual back-to-college survey explores the approaches of 1,025 US parents to back-to-college spending.
Remote teaching tools & resources
- Teaching remotely – Center for Teaching & Learning, University of Washington: Learn best practices, important policies, and essential aspects of effective remote instruction. Here you will find practical guidance and resources to support you as you plan and teach your course remotely.
- Resources for K-12 Educators Teaching Remotely
- Wide Open Schools: Distance Learning Teacher Center – Wide Open School is a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors at Common Sense. Find resources by school level (Preschool to Grade 5 or Grade 6-12 or by topic.
- Keeping Kindergartners Engaged in Distance Learning – Personalizing lessons and giving brain breaks can help young students stay engaged during short synchronous sessions
- 2 Simple Ways to Improve Online Instruction – Distance learning started as an emergency in the spring, but teachers are finding ways to make it better, even for students working on smartphones.
- 7 Guidelines for Setting Up Clear Online Lessons – The way a lesson is laid out online can make all the difference in whether a student can follow along and execute it successfully.
- Distance Learning: A Gently Curated Collection of Resources for Teachers – from the Cult of Pedagogy
- Coronavirus and Teaching from Home: Ten Ways to Engage and Instruct Students Remotely – Connections Academy
- How to Teach Remotely – The New Edtech Classroom by Sam Kary is a Humanities Middle School teacher, Google for Education Certified Trainer, and National Geographic Certified Educator.
- Getting Started: Distance Learning First Steps – Compiled by the California Department of Education, covering initial considerations for developing distance learning procedures and environments. It includes accessible platforms and systems, support for creating and adapting lessons and units, as well as advice specifically related to moving to online instruction as a result of the coronavirus.
- Harvard University’s Teach Remotely, including: Best Practices: Online Pedagogy – principles and tips to help you teach online; Technology and Tools – platforms to help with the transition to online teaching; and Fundamentals of Video and Audio for Teaching Online.
- A Beginner’s Toolkit for Teaching Remotely – Hooked on Innovation.
- 7 Takeaways from Our Experiences with Distance Learning – By putting people first and remaining flexible, administrators may be able to handle whatever comes next year.
- Reflections—and Lessons Learned—From Remote Learning – Experiences during remote learning inspire a teacher to reconsider—and refresh—her curriculum for the fall.
- Enhancing online learning – American Psychological Association – The COVID-19 pandemic has moved education online for most students. Psychologists are offering ways to maximize that shift
- 4 Best Practices for Distance Learning to Support Students Who Learn and Think Differently – Meet your students’ diverse needs with these tips, tools, and strategies.