Reopening Schools Plan - Lessons Learned

Lessons learned from spring 2020 when preparing to reopen schools

Lessons Learned from Spring 2020

The impact of the school closures on student achievement and well-being has been studied by various organizations around the world.  Building a reopening plan that takes into account common lessons learned within FCPS and beyond will help create an infrastructure aligned to student, family, and staff needs. Documenting the successes and missteps in the spring 2020 distance learning implementation will inform decisions and planning for the reopening of schools in the fall 2020. Six key areas of learning have been documented by FCPS staff from analysis of our own experiences and review of recent articles and studies. 

Instructional Model
  • Consistent implementation of a divisionwide instructional schedule is needed to promote equity. 
  • More synchronous student learning (live, interactive learning) is preferred. Increased access to live teaching experiences is needed to reduce the family burden to support student learning. 
  • Increased social emotional learning (SEL) opportunities are needed in a virtual environment.
Equity Concerns
  • Technology and connectivity must be provided by the division to ensure that all students can participate equitably in online instruction.
  • Division plans must account for the disproportionate health and economic impact of COVID-19 on certain communities, including how this affects students’ ability to equitably participate in online learning, potentially widening achievement gaps.
  • Opportunities for two-way conversations with all stakeholders is vitally important when generating plans and monitoring implementation.
  • Frequent and consistent messaging from the school division are needed, with safeguards to ensure communication reaches all families.
  • Verbal interpretations and written translations must be available for all families who require them.
  • Return to school success stories should be shared with stakeholders through social media, newsletters, news releases, and media outlets.
Instructional Practices 
  • Staff need dedicated time to plan and work in collaborative teams.
  • Ongoing professional development is needed to strengthen virtual teaching strategies.
  • Digital citizenship concepts and skills should be integrated into lessons.
  • Consistent inclusion of “specials” classes in elementary school and electives in middle schools is needed to support the whole child.
  • Grading policies should be carefully crafted to appropriately motivate student engagement.
Technology and Infrastructure
  • Timely distribution of laptops and Mi-Fi devices must be further strengthened to support student access to online instruction.
  • Learning platforms and video conferencing must be able to support consistent access by FCPS students and staff.
  • Students must have secure ways to access synchronous learning.
  • Honoring students’ individuality while maintaining security is critical, such as by reflecting preferred names within digital platforms.
Staff Support
  • Staff access to childcare is needed to meet the demands of virtual instruction and telework. 
  • Administrators, teachers, and support staff should receive sustained professional development on a range of crisis-related issues, self-care, and productivity tools. 
  • The division must ensure that all staff have consistent access to internet connectivity so they may effectively support students, families, and the school system.

Reopening Schools Plan - Complete Information