May 18, 2020

Planning for 2020-21 with COVID-19 Uncertainty

During this strange and uncertain time, it's more important than ever to embrace flexibility.
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Let's be honest. We don't know exactly what the Fall will look like. What's a planning committee to do?

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Unfortunately, we believe the majority of these educators are correct. We're unlikely to have a 100% normal return to our school buildings in the Fall. At least some modifications will be necessary to protect vulnerable teachers, families, and whole communities. With that said, the show must go on – so much depends on continuing to educate students.

As our leaders make hard decisions about when to restore different parts of normal life, we are left planning for 2020-21 with limited information. Distance and eLearning are far from perfect. But education has rarely taken place under perfect conditions, and no one should underestimate the creativity and resilience of teachers and students.

In the face of uncertainty, flexibility is our most powerful tool.

Nobody can predict the future, but our top doctors tell us that subsequent waves of Covid-19 are a real possibility. As grim as it is, that means the possibility of additional unplanned closures in the 2020-21 school year. As educators, we have to face the facts and look around the corner, so that we are ready to create the best possible experience for our students.

No matter what the Fall looks like, we know students will need positive systems for teaching and reinforcing new expectations. If we start designing our behavior support systems to support both at-home and in-school learning, we will be ready for whichever of the dozens of scenarios talked about in the media actually come true. Only through flexibility can we be resilient for our staff, our families, and our students.

The core components of successful behavior supports – setting clear expectations, providing frequent feedback, using data to prioritize action, and celebrating student success – are still relevant no matter what the Fall brings.

While there are many aspects we can't control about the situation, we are in control of how our team plans and sets expectations. At LiveSchool, we have been trying to determine how we can best support our more than 1,000 schools across the US that rely on our product.

In the new LiveSchool experience, we've built a feature that your team can use to stay flexible through the uncertainty we are all facing. Our new "hide" feature for rubric categories means that your team can customize its behavior rubric to show in-school expectations, at-home expectations, or both.

We'll continue to work on resources and features to help your team stay flexible through the uncertainty Covid-19 is causing. We'd love to hear from you with ideas for how we can support your team @whyliveschool.

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