An Administrators Checklist for
Pivoting to Virtual Learning
In this checklist we provide the top considerations when pivoting from in person instruction
to virtual learning. In addition, we’ve gathered tips and resources for communicating with
sta, students, and parents and for building and implementing a plan for virtual learning to
keep students on track during both long- and short-term school closures.
The rst step to determining if and how your students will continue their learning while away
from school is to understand whether they have access to an Internet connection and a device
that they can use to access online learning materials, communications, and possibly live online
learning experiences. Use this information to determine how to deploy virtual learning and
whether you will need to distribute devices and/or Internet hotspots to ensure that all students
have equitable access.
The easiest way to do this is to send out a short survey to parents. If your school or district does
not already have a survey tool in place, consider using a free tool such as Google Forms. The
survey does not need to be complicated; in fact, if you are working within a tight timeline, you’ll
likely get more participation if your survey is short and simple.
Consider including these three questions in your survey:
Understand Technology Access
If many of the students don’t have access to an Internet connection at home, and your district isn’t
able to provide hotspots or devices to all students who need them, consider reaching out to local
libraries, community organizations, or businesses for help. Many oer programs to help pay for
internet or rent devices to students in need.
What type of internet-connected device will your learner have access to?
Will your students need to share devices?
More than two students
will share one device
In the event of a school closure, will your learner have access to a device and an Internet
connection to participate in online learning activities and receive communication from teachers?
1. 2. 3.
Each student will
have a device to use
Two students will
share one device
Item 1
Item 2
Item 3
As you move forward with putting together a plan for virtual learning, start by taking inventory of
the online programs that your district currently uses to determine how they can t into your online
learning plan.
Take Inventory of Your Current Resources
How Edmentum Can Help
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around the needs of each individual student through adaptive curriculum, research-
based assessments for learning, and holistic educational services designed to make
personalized learning an achievable reality for every student. Learn more about our
programs on our website
Use your online learning resource audit to determine whether you currently have the sucient
online learning tools to deploy virtual learning, or whether you need to obtain more resources. As
you explore your options, consider free learning tools such as Khan Academy and TeacherTube,
resources featuring the capability for teachers to record video lessons themselves to share with
students, and online learning programs that can be purchased.
Program Features
Resource Type
Skill Practice
Supplemental Learning
How many licenses are available for
Which grade levels can use the
Do teachers know how to use the
Do students know how to use the
Is it possible to get sta and
students up and running on the
program before the school closure?
Sample Audit Worksheet
Implementation Tip
Program Title
Program Title
Program Title
Moving from the structure of a traditional classroom to the exibility of learning in an online
environment can be challenging for students, parents and teachers. Set up a schedule to give
students guidance on how to spend their time. As you plan the schedule, you will also need to
determine how much time students will spend in synchronous activities —interacting with their
teacher and peers in real time— versus asynchronous activities, working independently at their
own pace. The proportion of synchronous to asynchronous activities will impact the exibility
students and teachers have within the schedule. The more households within your district
communities in which students will be sharing devices, the greater proportion of asynchronous
activities your schedule will need to include.
If students will mostly be working asynchronously, be sure to build time into the
schedule for them to check in with their teacher and peers. Consider scheduling a
morning meeting in which the teacher can review with students what they will be
working on for the day, provide direct instruction, or engage the class in a discussion
or even a game. Also consider including an additional short, daily afternoon
check-in to discuss progress, answer questions, and share announcements. When
scheduling check-ins be sure to stagger the times for dierent grade levels to
accommodate households with shared devices. For hosting the check-ins, consider
tools like Zoom, which has a free version, and Google Hangouts Meet.
Oce hours:
Oce hours are times during the day that the teacher will be online and
available to connect live with students to answer questions and provide tutoring,
intervention, or other instructional support. As with check-ins, the number of
oce hours that teachers need to host will depend on how much time students
will be working synchronously versus asynchronously. The more students will
be working asynchronously, the more oce hours teachers will need to oer to
support students.
Establish a Daily Schedule
Be sure that your schedule includes:
Looking for example schedules?
It’s unlikely that students will be able to complete the amount of work that they would normally do
during an on-campus school day. Younger students may not be able to receive support from an
adult at home, and older students may have limited time for schoolwork due to having to babysit
younger siblings.
Teachers Students Build Your Own
Just as students need to take breaks while at school, they also need to be sure
to take breaks from working online. Build short breaks into the schedule and
be sure that parents and students understand why it’s important to take them
so that they take advantage of that time away from devices. Check out some
example break ideas here!
Physical activity:
Physical activity is built into the school day for most students through P.E.
class and recess. Build a time for physical activity into your virtual learning day
schedule, and provide suggested activities for students to complete to make
sure they are getting adequate and appropriate physical activity. Wondering
how online PE can work? Check out this blog!
Subject Blocks:
Block time during the day for students to work on certain subjects. For
longer term closures, consider longer subject blocks every other day to allow
students longer periods of focused time.
Catch-up time:
Students will inevitably have an activity that they are unable to complete in the
time allotted. Building a block of about 30 minutes into the daily schedule for
catching up will help students stay on track.
Create an attendance policy:
For your virtual learning days to count toward state-mandated attendance
requirements, be sure to develop a policy for determining attendance. Some
districts consider students present if they complete a certain percentage of
the day’s assignments; for other districts, students are considered present
when they attend scheduled synchronous activities. Whatever method you
develop, make sure that it is in compliance with state guidelines.
Establish a Daily Schedule
It’s important to set clear and realistic expectations for teachers and other sta members about
their duties during the school closure. Administrators, teachers, and other sta members should
work together to dene expectations and then publish a resource that details what specic tasks
sta members in each role should complete in order to carry out the learning plan and comply
with school, district, and state guidelines for virtual learning days.
Teachers Administration and Support Other District Sta
All Teachers
Post activities to Google
Classroom by 8:30 AM
Prepare online lessons
Hold oce hours each day
Submit attendance based on
assignments completed
ESL, GT, Special Education
Provide accommodations
based on IEP goals
Provide feedback to students
Partner with classroom
teachers to provide additional
Provide instructional support
to parents and students
Principals, Assistant Principals,
Central Oce Administration
Ensure communication of
school closure
Engage in online planning
Engage in professional
Support and monitor teachers
Maintain availability to answer
questions from teachers,
students, parents, and the
Instructional Coaches, Librarians,
Administrative Assistants
Provide online professional
Contact students who haven’t
completed work
Collaborate with teachers for
communication support
Collaborate with classroom
teachers to support online
Bus Drivers, Food Service, School
Participate in online
professional learning
Sample Expectations Chart
Set Expectations for Sta
Set aside time for sta training
Even the most tech savvy teachers need training on eectively teaching and communicating with
students and parents in a fully online environment. You may feel like you don’t have time for
sta training, but if school must close for any period of time, the time spent on training will be
well worth it. While conducting a training of at least one full day in person with faculty will work
best, if your school closure is imminent or has already begun, host a full day online training,
along with shorter follow-up sessions in the ensuing days to make sure teachers are equipped to
support students.
Be sure to include these topics in your teacher training:
Prepare students and parents for learning at home
Virtual learning can’t be successful unless students and parents know what is expected of them
and know how to access their online assignments and resources. Have educators walk students
through logging in to their online platforms and accessing their assignments. Your district could
also host an on-campus virtual learning practice day in which students work through the virtual
learning day assignments on the virtual learning day schedule. The more practice that students
have, the more likely they will be successful at home.
Once your virtual learning plan is in place, share the details with parents and students. In your
communication be sure to include:
n Online learning platform logins
n A daily schedule
n Instructions for accessing online programs
n Assignment completion expectations
n Attendance policies
n Who to contact for technical issues
n Using the online learning programs that
the district will be using
n Best practices for teaching in an online
n Best practices for keeping students and
parents engaged during online learning
n Logistics and schedule for the virtual
learning plan
In addition to communicating policies to parents through notes
sent home, email, and text messages, host live webinars in which
sta members can explain policies, demonstrate online programs,
and answer questions live. Parents will appreciate having the
additional details and the ability to have their questions answered,
and you will be able to share the recording so that parents who
were not able to attend live still have access to the information.
Prepare Students and Sta for Virtual learning
An unexpected school closure will require communication breadth and frequency that you
may not be accustomed to. Use any and all available channels to keep students, parents, and
community members informed.
Phone system: If you have an automatic call system in place, call or text
families with updates as they are available. This is the best way to distribute a
time-sensitive message, and it will likely have the most reach because nearly all
families have telephones, even those who don’t have Internet service.
Email: Concise, direct emails are one of the best ways to communicate with
families and sta members. Those who use email will check it frequently
in search of updates. Focus on clear and compelling subject lines and email
headers to improve the chances that recipients open and read the message.
Also include a clear and prominent call to action if there is something that the
reader or recipient needs to do. In every email you send, be sure to include links
to your website or other resources where more information can be found.
Website: Your website will be the rst place most families go for information.
Use an eye-catching callout near the top of the homepage and link to a webpage
that contains relevant news and updates. To limit frustration and confusion,
make sure that visitors don’t have to search for what they are looking for.
Here are tips and best practices for using dierent communication tools:
Include contact
for personnel
families should
reach out
to for more
Keep content
content into
Make the
and easy.
Website tips:
Communicate with Sta and Parents
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Social media:
Utilizing the power of social media to share information about a school
closure can be incredibly eective if educators and families follow your
district’s social media accounts. Through the power of easy sharing, messages
can travel far very quickly. One thing to keep in mind when leveraging
social media is that you will receive inquiries through those channels, so it’s
important to have someone available to monitor the accounts and respond
to questions and requests. If your district has not built an audience through
social media, you may still want to post information to those accounts; just be
aware that you will also need to use other methods of communication.
Check out Edmentum’s suite of K–12, evidence-based assessments and digital curriculum,
and see why 8,000 U.S. school districts proudly partner with us.
Communicate With Sta and Parents
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