Launching Virtual Learning

Network Guidance: Virtual Structure to Support Online Instruction

The following guidance is intended to inform your planning for the disruption of school-based instruction as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Each school is encouraged to convene a team that will make decisions about instructional planning, expectations for students and teachers in the event of a school closure and communications to all school stakeholders. Schools are encouraged to modify the guidance provided from the Network as necessary to ensure that it is appropriate and relevant to their current needs.

Your virtual learning plan should be communicated immediately to all school stakeholders through your school’s website (homepage), email, your LMS’ Portals, phone systems (such as School Reach), etc.

If your plan includes transitioning to online instruction, the school needs to ensure that all students have access to the technology they need to participate in the distance learning. Schools are strongly encouraged to investigate all of the capacities of their current LMS (Learning Management System) to support online instruction in the event of a school closure.

If you are unfamiliar with the capacity of your LMS, then please consider using Google Classroom, as it is quick and easy to set up. Here’s a link on how to begin, and the network will provide additional support and tutorials to support your work on this platform.

We are confident that our schools will expend good faith effort to provide high quality online instruction to offset the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This page serves to outline suggestions for online learning at your school that will offer students and teachers a productive and efficient option to classroom instruction

Guidance Provided

Continuation of instruction through your school’s current LMS (Learning Management System) or the quick adoption of an LMS

Guidance NOT Provided

Recommendations for a specific LMS

Recommendations for the utilization of your current LMS

Sample structures to support student learning

  • Daily schedule

  • School-wide use of LMS

  • Teacher expectations

  • Student expectations

A required instructional schedule

Required expectations for teachers and students

Requirements/recommendations for grading student work that is submitted electronically

Communications to school stakeholders in English and Spanish regarding online instruction conducted in the event of a school closure

Specific online resources in each content area that can replace a school’s existing curriculum

Identification of instructional resources that can be used to complement/augment school curriculum in the event of a school closure

School-specific requirements for student attendance, participation in class sessions and submission of student work

Options for students who do not have internet access at home

Sample Online Learning School Schedule

Our schools have found that offering a block schedule is a more effective means of delivering virtual instruction. A sample is shown below, and more options are available through this link.

It will be very helpful to manage the communication of and submission of assignments through your LMS. For this reason, we again encourage you to explore the current capabilities and capacities of your LMS (Learning Management System).

We encourage you to designate a staff member as the supervisor of updates to the LMS to ensure that all information is current. (For example, teacher absences need to be reflected by 7:45 am each day.)

Teacher Expectations


  • Teachers should provide live interactive lessons (through free Zoom meetings, as an example) based on an online schedule provided by school. Recorded lessons are an alternative and should not be the default for online instruction. Live lessons allow for student interactions that best replicate the classroom experience and allow teachers to check for student understanding.

  • Record all your live lessons in the event that a student cannot attend the live lesson.

  • To the extent possible, teachers should mirror their in-person lessons with those provided online. This might include:

    • Lessons and assignments that build on what students were recently taught and are aligned with what students will need to know/understand by the end of the current school year

    • Opportunities for communication between teachers and students

    • Opportunities for student-to-student exchanges (e.g., Zoom breakouts; this video from the national office may be helpful to setting up Zoom breakouts; Google Classroom does not offer this, but there is a work-around)

    • Distributing and collecting student work before, during, and at the end of the lesson.

    • Research projects that require student use of skills and content acquired during the current academic year. Teachers should start planning for such projects now as they could present a thoughtful opportunity for students to demonstrate understanding and mastery of key content and skills.

  • Expectations for Virtual Lessons:

    • Avoid over-reliance on instruction provided by commercial online providers. While some providers are known for their content (eg. Khan Academy), there is no substitute for a teacher who knows his/her students and can provide the customized instruction they need

    • Continue to assign only purposeful tasks that directly support your learning objectives and advance conceptual understanding.Avoid distributing “busy work” assignments that include large “packets” of worksheets.

  • Homework assignments should be provided as usual, but should not exceed 40 minutes per class per day, as students may have assigned work in all their courses.

    • The time and date by which assignment is due should be clearly articulated.

    • All homework assignments are posted in your LMS.

Workday Expectations

  • Check the daily schedule and provide interactive lessons per the schedule.

  • Review and respond to email correspondence (school and student) by 2:00pm daily.

  • Report teacher absence to _________(administrator) no later than 7:00am daily.

  • Report student absence to _________(administrator) no later than 3:00pm daily.

  • Convene weekly office hours. See sample schedule above.

    • Post homework on the school’s LMS with link to the recorded live lesson.

Student Expectations


  • Virtually attend and participate in classes according to the schedule provided by the school. Please minimize distractions and background noise by finding a quiet space in which to work.

    • If you do not have access to the internet at home, please contact your principal at (contact information here). Students without internet access will receive extensions on the required e-learning when school resumes.


  • Complete and submit assignments as instructed by your teachers. Some teachers may not assign homework each day while others may assign a long term project. Teachers will decide on an individual basis if having students work on assignments outside of class will advance their learning. In some cases, the outside assignments may help mitigate the loss of in-person instructional time.

Communication with Teachers

  • As usual, students may communicate with teachers via email and can expect a response within 24-48 hours, typically by 2pm daily. Know that your teachers are providing virtual lessons throughout the morning, and are reviewing students’ work and emails throughout the day, and planning for the next day’s lessons, so please have patience when awaiting an email response.

Students should check the daily schedule and the school’s student portal periodically (at least twice a day) and respond in a timely fashion to all communications.

⚠️ Please note

It is not a reasonable expectation that students and teachers be available for all hours of an online instructional day. Both teachers and students have family obligations that may impact their availability. For this reason, online live classes should be recorded and the timeline for student submission of assignments should be reasonable. The expectation is for teachers and students to check the daily schedule, emails, and the school’s Student and Teacher portals periodically (at least twice a day) and respond in a timely fashion to all communications.

CWSP-Related Expectations

We ask that on days in which students are working, CWSP staff provide at least one class period’s worth of business skills-related instruction. The expectation is that this online course extends the experience and skills offered in the workplace, yet is developmentally appropriate and relevant for high school students.

These online classes should reflect what happens in live lessons and may involve a combination of direct instruction (i.e., traditional lecture), whole group discussion, small group discussion, and paired and individual work. Schools might consider taking the mini-lessons that are currently provided prior to sending students to work and expanding them for use as the virtual lesson. Instructors should also assign in-class work as well as homework to be due the next work day.

For example, if your planned mini-lesson called for crafting an email that explains how the student completed the last project and is seeking more work, then your lesson could include discussion on:

  1. How detailed should you be when explaining how you completed your last project?

  2. How might you ask for more work?

The discussion should lead you to a rubric that describes the key criteria, and “in-class” work might involve looking at an example of a student’s email and how it measures up against the rubric. Their homework would be to draft the email.

Files and Sample Communications - Academics


Mary Kearney
Chief Academic Officer