Emergency Distance Learning FAQs

  • What are the key considerations for making a shift to remote learning?

    The most important consideration that would determine a shift is necessary would be whether or not there is sufficient staff to operate a school or the district. This could be on a classroom/program level, at the school level, in a department (such Food Services, Facilities, Food Services or Transportation), multiple schools or across the entire district. We also watch student transmissions closely, but the contact tracing, quarantine and isolation procedures address most of the issues that we see with transmissions. 

    Considerations around whether or not there is sufficient staffing at any level would be made on a case-by-case basis because such decisions are impacted by many factors that include the availability of substitute teachers, capacity to cover responsibilities using district resources or other staff. For this reason, there is not a specific threshold for deciding whether or not to shift to remote learning. It is very situational.


    What if we don’t have enough bus drivers for our routes?

    We will evaluate the number of drivers available and implement adjusted routes, including “double-shifting” (having a driver transport one route, then return to drop off another route). Our Transportation Department has already prepared for this possibility by identifying routes that may be combined or double-shifted. This would mean that some students are late to school and some students will have to remain at school later while they wait for an available bus.

    If we do not have the minimum number of drivers required to double-shift routes successfully, this would then require our district to move to remote learning until sufficient drivers returned to at least cover double-shifted routes.


    If we were to shift to remote learning, what would be the scale of the shift?

    We would consider each situation on a case-by-case basis and make any shifts, if necessary, at the smallest scale possible. Options considered would begin with classroom or program level, progressing to school or schools, with a districtwide shift being the last resort. We must do all that we can to avoid shifts to remote learning, especially at the district level.


    Do we have a specific threshold for deciding that a shift to remote learning is necessary?

    We do not have a fixed number or percentage that would require a shift to remote learning. As described above, each situation would be unique and a decision would be based on our capacity to address staffing needs using districtwide resources.


    What about athletics and extracurricular activities?

    Decisions about athletics and extracurricular activities will be made on a case-by-case basis depending on variables such as staffing and bus driver availability.


    What happens if we have to make a shift to remote learning?

    At the time the decision is made things will move quickly. Each principal will notify staff via a quick staff meeting (probably Zoom) and via email. All staff will also receive a copy of the notification of the shift to families. Families will receive the notification. If a decision is made in the evening, notifications will go out via Blackboard Connect and Flash Alert (similar to what we see for snow-days) and will be followed up immediately with a more detailed email from the District. The school principal will then follow-up with staff. As previously shared, there would be a non-student day between notification and the start of remote learning. This day will allow students and families to pick up laptops and for staff to prepare.


    How long would we be in remote learning if we made a shift?

    Any shift to remote learning would most likely be temporary, lasting from four to 10 days. Every effort would be made to keep the duration as short as possible. The duration would be based on our projection of when quarantines would be completed, allowing us to return to in-person learning.


    What would remote learning look like in terms of schedules, learning platforms, tech support, etc.?

    Please review the Emergency Distance Learning Plan on the district website. This provides the critical information necessary to navigate distance learning in our district.


    Would any students continue to receive in-person services during remote learning?

    Yes. Based on bus driver availability, individual needs and staffing, we are planning to prioritize specialty programs during a temporary shift.


    How would laptops (and possibly other materials) be distributed?

    Our Technology and Teaching and Learning Departments would be working with classified staff assigned to each school (classified staff will be notified where to report), to prepare, gather and distribute the laptops on a schedule that we have already prepared based on student last name. Schools may also send materials home with the laptops.


    During remote learning, would food be available for distribution to families that need it?

    Yes. We have already created an online request form for the provision of food. Families would receive that link in our initial communication about a shift to remote learning and be able to immediately request food. Our food service staff, along with classified staff (who will also be notified where to report), will prepare the food and distribute it.