Covid-19 and Remote Learning Equity Resources
Achieving equity in remote learning requires leaders to be intentional about ensuring support for student populations who often already have reduced opportunities for academic success. To review guidelines and resources pertaining to education equity amid COVID-19, continue below.
Refer to School Reopening Frequently Asked Questions for the Virginia Department of Education’s related guidance, which is aligned with the interim CDC guidance for schools and serves as a recommendation for Virginia schools to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19.
How to Ensure Educational Equity Amid COVID-19
1. Strive to meet students’ immediate needs first:
Prioritize the physical and social-emotional needs of particularly vulnerable students. Ensure safety, belonging, and mental health as a foundation for learning.
Actions stakeholders may consider:
- -Provide training/guidance to school staff on culturally responsive student and family outreach strategies.
- -Consider the historical impact the spread of the disease has had on native populations and how the COVID-19 pandemic may be impacting student members of Virginia’s Tribes.
- -Establish a protocol to assess the needs of vulnerable students, including, ELs, immigrant and refugee students, and students experiencing food, housing, or healthcare insecurity. Additional consideration should also be provided for students under state care (foster care, detention facilities, and hospitals).
2. Ensure equitable access to learning resources and provide the adequate supports necessary for students to achieve success:
While online and e-learning models are attractive, to reach all student groups, school divisions must consider equitable access to the Internet and technology and provide the necessary resources to ensure that families are able to support their student’s education. Insufficient availability of supports for families and students may widen disparities instead of narrowing them. Keep in mind that it is not enough to simply provide resources; there must be adequate support to students and families to ensure student success
Actions stakeholders may consider:
- -Monitor the impact your model will have on underserved groups, including students of color, English Learners, and students experiencing poverty and homelessness.
- -Send out a questionnaire to gather information about each students’ learning environment, access to technology and adult learning support.
- -Ensure instructional approaches, assignments and learning opportunities are culturally relevant and culturally responsive.
- -Evaluate whether your distance learning model will improve or worsen disparities between student groups. Examine barriers to equitable implementation and unintended consequences.
- -Monitor compliance with Federal and State Civil Rights laws and continued guidance being issued by VDOE and USED.
3. Provide clear, centralized, and regular communication to all families.
Actions stakeholders may consider:
- -Develop a user-friendly, multilingual online hub for families to receive up-to-date information, educational resources, and request support.
- -Establish common, division-wide systems for touching base with every student (via email, phone or text message) and family once per week in the family’s primary language and ensure availability of on-call division teams that can connect students and families to statewide and community services when needed.
- -Leverage all community wrap-around services including partnerships with local civil rights organizations, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, and relevant media outlets, to ensure that information reaches every population.
4. Develop a return to learning equity plan:
Disruptions to the stability of traditional schooling that come with continued school closures may be particularly challenging for students to manage. Inequitable access to technology, learning supports, and family resources will disproportionately impact vulnerable students. The impact of sustained learning loss during this period of school closures combined with disparities in the implementation of continuity for learning models has the potential to exacerbate previously existing gaps in student achievements.
Actions stakeholders may consider:
- -Form a division-level or school-based Return to Learning Equity Team that includes community based organizations, wrap around partners and representatives from state-operated programs (foster care, detention facilities, and hospitals).
- -Evaluate existing data to identify students and student groups most vulnerable to learning loss disproportionality.
- -Design diagnostic systems to evaluate student learning growth and establish accountability measures to monitor progress.
To access the recommendations and resources in its entirety, visit Virginia Learns Anywhere.
General Equity Resources
- -Refer to the EdEquityVA Webinar Series page for VDOE webinars highlighting key equity strategies
- -Webinar How can we work for equity & access in challenging times? (STEM Learning Ecosystem)
- –Five high-leverage and equity-focused uses of CARES Act dollars, designed to build systems, structures, and supports that increase long-term capacity and produce immediate benefits for historically underserved students. (Learning Policy Institute)
- –Moving Beyond the Packet: Creating More Culturally Responsive Distance Learning Experiences
- –Parents as First Teachers: Supporting Reading Development at Home in Culturally Responsive Ways
- -Webinar: Beyond Back to School – Equity and Innovation in the COVID-19 era focuses on using data to structure strategic restart plans to meet the diverse needs of all students for their return to school and beyond. (NWEA)
- –A State Policymaker’s Guide to Equitable Transitions in the COVID-19 Era (Education Commission of the States)
- -Whitepaper: Will COVID-19 closures impact student learning? (NWEA)
- -Whitepaper: Back-to-School 2020 Toolkit (Illuminate Education)
- –Ensuring Education Equity During and After COVID-19 (IDRA)
- –Strengthening Child Care and Early Education: Learning from COVID-19 (New America)
- -Webinar: The Urgency of Educational Equity Now: A conversation with John King and Karen Pittman (CASEL)
- -Webinar: Strategies and Solutions for Mitigating COVID-19 Learning Loss (ACT Learning)
- –Closing COVID-19 Equity Gaps in Schools (Education Week)
- –Fighting for Fairness Amid a Pandemic (Education Week)
- -Webinar: A Seat at the Table With Education Week: Trauma-Informed Teaching: How to Identify and Help Students During COVID-19 (Babble)
- –What Schools Can Do to Build Trust: Advice From Parents (Education Week)
- –5 Things You Need to Know About Student Absences During COVID-19 (Education Week)
- –Digital Equity for Students and Educators (Public Policy Associates)
Online Learning Resources
- Ensuring Equity in Online Learning – Considerations in Response to COVID-19’s Impact on Schooling (IDRA)
- Best Practices for Online Instruction in the Wake of COVID-19 (IDRA)
- Online Teaching Can Be Culturally Responsive: Amid school closures, online classes can offer new opportunities for culturally responsive teaching.
- Webinar Series: Confronting Digital Inequities (New America)
- How to Make Lessons Cohesive When Teaching Both Remote and In-Person Classes (Education Week)
- Re-imagining the New Classroom Environment during COVID-19 (Lightspeed)
- Webinar: Remote Learning for Back to School (SAM Labs)
- Webinar: How to Make Remote Learning Work for All Students (Education Week)
- The Three Essential Elements for Forging Strong Student Relationships: Tips for Reaching Students in a Virtual Setting (Education Week)
- Bridging Academic and Home Knowledge with Home Works Lessons (Elementary Curriculum for Distance Learning) – Podcast Episode 206 (IDRA)
Multilingual/English Learner Student Resources
- Explore the US Department of Education’s Technology Toolkit for English Learners. This Toolkit brings suggestions and resources for educators who want to utilize new technology-based resources to help their ELs.
- School Responses to COVID-19: ELL/Immigrant Considerations
- Online Learning Webinar for ELs: Strategy and Resource Share (part of VDOE’s EL Instruction Monthly Webinar Series)
- 5 Things Districts and Educators Can do to Support Instruction for English Learners During COVID-19 (English Learner Success Forum)
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet on English learners (ELs) (USDOE)
- How to Use Blended Learning to Empower English Learners (MAWI Learning)
LGBTQ+ Student Resources
- Supporting LGBTQ Students During Social Distancing: Experts at The Trevor Project offered their recommendations for ways educators can support LGBTQ students through coronavirus school closures.
- For LGBTQ Students, School Closures Can Mean the Loss of a Critical Safe Space (New America)
- Head Back To School With LGBTQ Competency (Human Rights Campaign)
Combatting Bullying and Racism Resources
- Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus (Teaching Tolerance)
- Student Perspective: Coronavirus Racism Infected My High School (The New York Times)
- How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism: As COVID-19 infections increase, so too does racism and xenophobia. Use our “Speak Up” strategies to let people know you’re not OK with racist or xenophobic comments about coronavirus or anything else.
Family Engagement Resources
- Webinar: Partnering with Families to Reopen and Reimagine Schools (IDRA)
- Culturally Responsive-Sustaining (CRS) Family Engagement provides guidance to deepen family engagement and foster learning during the pandemic. (NYU)
- Rethinking Family Engagement During School Closures– a resource that encourages educators to consider how expectations for students are related to assumptions about family involvement—and why you might need to rethink those assumptions. (Education Week)
- Webinar: The Emotional Reality of Learning at Home: Meeting the Needs of Students and Their Families (Dr. Steve Constantino)
- Family Engagement Toolkit: Continuous Improvement Through an Equity Lens (WestEd)
- Effective Family Outreach in the Pandemic Era (IDRA)
Social Emotional Learning Resources
- As a follow-up to the “SEL and Equity: Follow the Data” webinar EdWeek is offering a free course to equip students with the critical social emotional skills they need to build confidence and habits of success to thrive in middle school. (MAWI Learning)
- Brief on responding to COVID-19 though Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) (Center on PBIS)
- Webinar: Supporting Student and Educator Wellbeing (Steelcase)
- Webinar: Suicide Prevention in a Virtual Setting and Guide (VDOE)
- Webinar: Suicide Intervention in a Virtual Setting and Guide (VDOE)
- Addressing Suicidal Concerns in a Virtual Setting: A Guide for School Staff (VDOE)
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