State eLearning Plans

In many cases, states have waived specific policies related to the limits for the number of consecutive days for eLearning and any application process in the wake of the COVID-19 school closures.

Learn more about state policies and practices via SETDA’s Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States and eLearning Days: A scan of policy and guidance from (December 2019).

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State eLearning Exemplars

States listed here have been leading the way in pioneering eLearning days with their students over the last several years. Many in this section already had provisions in place to compensate for inclement weather. Expand each state for a description of their work and some links to resources they are sharing.

Colorado

E-Learning Days
In the event a district implements “E-Learning Days” in lieu of canceling a scheduled student contact day for any reason (such as weather, etc.), the following criteria must be met and documented:

  • District board of education definition of educational process (e.g., in board policy, board resolution, governance document, etc.), which includes E-Learning Days (with corresponding definition)
  • Documentation (e.g., regulations, course syllabus, handbook, etc.) outlining district policy (if not included in board policy) that describes the following:
    • Acceptable ways in which teacher-pupil instruction and contact time can occur outside the classroom during E-Learning Days, including how teacher-student interaction will be documented
    • Acceptable ways in which attendance/participation should be documented

Further, the district must ensure that all students have the appropriate electronic equipment and resources, including but not limited to hardware and internet access, to participate in the E-Learning Days.
If E-Learning Days are being used for any purpose other than described above, the district should contact the School Auditing Office.

Colorado Guidance

Illinois

Launched in 2015 as a pilot program, Illinois’ eLearning program school districts may choose to provide instruction to students outside of the attendance center in lieu of using one or more emergency days required under Section 10-19 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-1]. This flexibility is available via Section 10-20.56 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-20.56] which authorizes a  program.

Resources

Indiana

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) eLearning Day Program can be used on a day of inclement weather, on a make- up day for inclement weather, or on a planned day for a myriad of valid opportunities, eg: professional learning for teachers, parent meetings, etc. School districts must still meet the IDOE criteria, fill out an online application, and receive approval from the IDOE Office of eLearning in order to utilize eLearning Days.

Update: The Office of Curriculum and Instruction created a site to provide resources for educators and families during this time of extended remote learning that is continuously being updated. Indiana is also working with PBS Learning Media to reach those without internet. In addition, Indiana is working on a Continuity of Learning Guidance Plan to provide guidance for educators to meet the immediate need of supporting learning outside of our normal practices as a means to bring clarity and focus to the experience of our teachers, students and families as they finish the 2019-2020 school year.

Kentucky

The Non-Traditional Instruction Program (NTI) is a program that encourages the continuation of academic instruction on days when school would otherwise be canceled. School districts create plans to deliver instruction to every student in the district and provide for student and teacher interaction on NTI days, with the ultimate goal of reducing potential learning loss. The Commissioner of Education can waive up to 10 NTI days to count towards student attendance days in the school districts’ calendars.

Minnesota

Minnesota districts may adopt a plan for eLearning to be utilized for up to 5 days per year for instruction during inclement weather. Plans must be approved by local school district board of education prior to use, provide adequate accommodations for students without sufficient Internet or resources available in their homes. Teachers must be “available” to students by “telephone” during normal school operational hours.

New Hampshire

Remote Instruction

A school district or private school may conduct instruction remotely. The district shall create a plan that shall include procedures for participation by all students. Academic work shall be equivalent in effort and rigor to typical classroom work. There shall be an assessment of all student work for the day.

Resources:

Pennsylvania

A Flexible Instructional Day (FID) Program is a tool available to public school entities to be used as an alternate approach to delivering instruction if a circumstance arises that prevents instruction in customary manner. With the passage of Act 64 of 2019, section 1506 was added to the Public School Code. Public school entities now have the opportunity to develop a Flexible Instructional Day program, enabling the public school entities to meet the 180 instructional day requirement of section 1501. The FID program may be online, offline, or a combination of the two. Act 64 defines a school entity as a school district, intermediate unit, area vocational-technical school, or charter school or regional charter school, as defined under section 1703-A. While public school entities are expected to build make-up days into their local school calendars, FIDs can support the public school entities in cases when circumstances (e.g., a disease epidemic, a hazardous weather condition, a law enforcement emergency, the inoperability of school buses or other equipment necessary to the public school entity’s operation, damage to a school building, or a temporary circumstance rendering any portion of a school building unfit or unsafe for use) prevent the delivery of instruction in its customary manner or location. If the public school entity chooses to implement a FID program, the number of flexible instructional days may not exceed five (5) days per school year.

Flexible Learning Days Guidance

Rhode Island

In 2017, the Governor signed a bill into law requiring that the Rhode Island Department of Education (“RIDE”) establish a policy that allows districts to submit detailed plans if their schools intend to conduct instruction through virtual education when schools have been closed due to inclement weather or other emergency. This guidance document contains information about the process a Local Education Agency (“LEA”) should use to submit a plan, the components that should be included in the plan, and a rubric establishing criteria as to how the plan will be evaluated.http://www.ride.ri.gov/TeachersAdministrators/OtherToolsInformation/VirtualInstructionalDay.aspx

Rhode Island Planning Guide for Administrators and Educators

South Carolina

South Carolina law defines an instructional day as well as the requirements for make-up days. An instructional day for elementary students is a minimum of 5.5 hours a day while secondary students are required to complete 6 hours. The same stipulations are required for an eLearning day. The eLearning Application (see p. 10) that districts submit to the SC Education Oversight Committee (EOC) requires the superintendent of the school district and the board of trustees of the school district to certify that the district: 1. “Meets the following minimum requirements to participate in the eLearning pilot to use eLearning to make up days missed due to inclement weather; 2. Agrees to provide data to the EOC or independent consultants hired by the EOC to evaluate implementation of the pilot. The data elements will be mutually agreed upon by the EOC and the pilot school districts; however, all data elements will be consistent across districts participating in the pilot; and 3. Agrees to facilitate the collection of online surveys as requested by the EOC to identify the successes and challenges of the pilot from the perspective of administrators, classroom teachers, students, and parents.” Those districts interested in piloting have to get approval from the EOC. Five districts were awarded 2018 pilot, and ten more were approved for the school year 2019–20 pilot.

Guidance

Wisconsin

The state administrative rule that governs school district standards (PI 8) was modified to recognize new and emerging methods of delivering instructional programming. PI 8 spurs innovative ways to engage students and teachers outside of the traditional day and place through virtual options for learning. Times may be used on a day when school is canceled, as a planned day, or as a makeup day when a day of school was missed. There are a variety of reasons a school would use Virtual Learning Time. These include, but are not limited to, snow or other inclement weather, professional development, widespread illness, and flooding. It is up to individual school districts to determine how many days they can effectively deliver instruction via Virtual Learning Time, including how many consecutive days.

 

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New State eLearning Plans

This section highlights those states who have shared information about their evolving plans for supporting eLearning in response to COVID-19.
Expand each state for a description of their work and some links to resources they are sharing.

Alaska

The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development (DEED) has launched a guidance and resource site to support our shift to remote instruction and home-based learning. The AK Learns Teaching & Learning Support site organizes resources for families and teachers, including online and off-line activities, ideas, and guidance. A “Tools” page showcases several high-quality “top picks” currently offering free access for teachers and families. An “Educational Resources” section is organized by both grade-band and content area, and a separate “For Families” section has been designed to provide information and resources selected specifically for parents and care givers.

On March 31, 2020, the Alaska Statewide Virtual School (AKSVS) will launch through a partnership with the Florida Virtual School Global program, providing fully online course offerings for students in grades K-12. Course information and registration for Alaska’s students is available on the AK Learns site.

On or before April 3, 2020, a “Leader to Leader” section will be added to the AK Learns site to provide guidance for and address specific questions and concerns from superintendents, district leadership, and school-level administrators.

Connecticut

The State of Connecticut has assembled a compendium of local and national resources to support remote learning for K – 12 and higher education. Resources include guiding considerations for district leaders, planning frameworks and checklists, programs to connect learners outside school, a list of free and reduced-price software, and free and open educational resources (OER).

Members, if you have new state eLearning info you would like to be included here, please submit it via this form.

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