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 SDCOE Creates Tools for Distance Learning Plans

Students from San Marcos Double Peak Middle School in class​The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) has developed several tools to support school districts as they meet the challenge of developing distance learning plans to continue educating students after school closures. 

The Continuity of Learning Planning Document for Distance Learning helps district teams go step by step from the planning stage to the sustainability stage with key components listed for consideration. The Instructional Continuity Learning Plan High-Level Key Considerations is a companion piece with a high-level flowchart depicting the planning document's work process. SDCOE used feedback from elementary and secondary district deputy and assistant superintendents to develop these resources.

"We have a workforce of incredibly talented educators and classified staff and employees at our offices who are working around the clock to find innovative solutions to help our children and mitigate learning loss during this difficult time," said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. "We're looking at academics and beyond to social-emotional learning and mental health, because I know the children who need the most help are the ones being hurt the most during this time."

SDCOE's Learning and Leadership Services division, made up of experienced school leaders and educators, is also developing additional supportive resources for instruction for specific student groups, such as students with special needs, English learners, students in foster care, and those experiencing homelessness. 

These resources will continue to be added to SDCOE's COVID-19 School Resources website. 

SDCOE has also been surveying districts to determine how Learning and Leadership Services teams can meet their needs as they develop their distance learning plans. 

Since districts closed schools March 16 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, leaders have been developing ways for educators, school counselors, and social workers to reach out to students and families. 

Many are in the process of developing guidelines and protocols for distance learning, and they are creating social-emotional learning lessons to deliver guidance virtually. Some of that work-in-progress includes creating virtual counseling center supports, referring students to teletherapy with community-based organizations, creating dedicated office hours when school counselors are immediately available, and calling the homes of their most vulnerable students.