VDOE Task Force addresses needs of schools, teachers and students during COVID-19 closure

A task force convened by Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane has issued a guidance document on how schools can prevent the further widening of achievement gaps and meet the social and emotional needs of students while schools are closed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Continuity for Learning Task Force included more than 120 teachers, administrators and specialists from school divisions across the commonwealth, as well as representatives of educational organizations and the Virginia Department of Education. Its report, “Virginia Learns Anywhere,” is the product of three days of virtual meetings during late March and early April, and is available on the VDOE website.

“The unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus pandemic is being met by the unprecedented efforts of the commonwealth’s educators, administrators and support professionals,” Lane said. “’Virginia Learns Anywhere’ captures their innovative approaches to providing equitable opportunities for all students to continue learning, and keeping students connected to critical school-based services.”

“Virginia Learns Anywhere” includes sample instructional modules covering essential knowledge and skills for all content areas and grade levels, and recommendations on integrating the skills and attributes known as the “5 C’s”— critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship — into distance learning.

While VDOE and the Continuity for Learning Task Force recommend that schools not grade work performed while schools are officially closed, “Virginia Learns Anywhere” includes guidance on how teachers can provide continuous and meaningful feedback to their students — and maintain relationships when students may feel isolated from their school community.

“Virginia Learns Anywhere” also includes guidance on the use of learning management systems and communications platforms, and on the delivery of instruction for students without internet access, English learners and students with disabilities.

“I would like to thank the Continuity for Learning Task Force members for volunteering their time, knowledge, insight and experiences to create this valuable resource for the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions,” Lane said. “The information, guidance and resources presented in ‘Virginia Learns Anywhere’ will be of great assistance as our schools endeavor to keep students connected with learning and services during these challenging months.”

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