Oklahoma Resources for Distance Learning

Prioritizing the safety and health of the school community, the State Board of Education has suspended all in-school activities for the remainder of the school year in order to contain community spread of COVID-19. Beginning April 6, 2020, districts and schools are to establish distance delivery methods for learning until the end of the school year.

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What is distance learning?

Distance learning is any method of learning that happens outside the traditional school building. The approach to distance learning will be different from school to school and district to district because student and staff access to technology and training will be different.

How do we meet the board’s requirement to provide distance learning?

Whatever makes sense for you and your district is the best approach. How student learning continues is up to you. For those with very young students or whose communities have limited broadband access, that may look like teacher-developed packets of learning materials sent and reviewed at regular intervals.

For others who have already been working with digital learning platforms, it might mean district-wide implementation of an off-the-shelf learning management system or a tool already used by many teachers, such as Google Classroom. For many, it will be some combination of traditional and digital learning, using a number of possible platforms.

We want to stress again, what you develop should make sense for you and your local community. We recognize that those closest to students and their families understand best how to serve them. The frameworks and resources on this page are to support, not dictate, how you should implement distance learning, in the short or longer term.

Distance learning will be, for many, a whole new way to “do school.” It is best to start slow, adopt a “less is more” approach, consult the resources on this page as needed, talk to colleagues in other districts who may already be using distance learning and then let the creativity and autonomy of educators, who already have deep and meaningful connections to their students, lead you forward.

Engaging families will be essential to successful implementation of distance learning. Partnerships with families will be critical as you work together to make sure learning continues for the remainder of the school year and beyond.

As districts plan, they should consult with their local health departments and be aware of the following:

  • OSDE will work to eliminate barriers to a district’s focus on the safety and health of students and staff and continue to provide guidance in a rapidly changing situation.
  • LEAs should develop their own plans using non-technological, virtual face-to-face interactions and online platforms. The emphasis at all times should be learning in a safe and healthy environment.
  • CCOSA, OSSBA, OEA, OPSRC and other support organizations are available to help as needed.
  • We must provide alternative educational opportunities to all student populations.

If you have questions about distance learning, please contact Aaron Espolt at aaron.espolt@sde.ok.gov or (405) 306-5477

Among the resources you will find on this page are:

Essential Resources for Administrators

  • Important Considerations Before You Begin
  • How to Develop & Implement a Distance Learning Plan
  • Digital Learning Plans: Questions & Considerations
    • Infrastructure
    • Family Considerations
    • Teaching and Learning
    • Communication
    • Attendance
    • Equity
  • General Recommendations, Tips & Expectations
  • How to Tackle Local Connectivity Issues
  • Technology Guidelines, Training & Resources
    • IT Support & Passwords
    • Technology Training for Staff
    • Video Conferencing/Video Recording Tools
    • Learning Management Systems
    • Curriculum Content Providers

Essential Resources for Teachers

  • General Recommendations, Tips & Expectations
    • High-Level Planning
    • Student Instructional Supports & Interactions
    • Technology & Online Instruction
    • Tips for Elementary Teachers
    • Tips for Middle & High School Teachers
  • Sample Schedule for Instruction Learning by Age
  • Grade Band & Content Area Instruction Guidance
    • Learning Packets
    • Early Childhood (PreK-Grade 2)
    • Elementary (Grades 3-5)
    • Secondary (Middle & High School)
    • English Language Arts
    • Math & Science
    • Social Studies
    • Other Content Areas

Special Education & English Learner Resources

  • Special Education
  • English Learners

Child Nutrition Resources

  • Meal Service & Delivery
  • Waivers: Approved & Pending

Social-Emotional Learning Resources


Latest FAQs for Oklahoma Public Schools

OSDE is updating its FAQs on a continuous basis to reflect the most recent information available on State Board action, CDC recommendations and guidance from USDE, USDA and other federal authorities. Communication about the pandemic will continue to change over time, which may make earlier versions of FAQs obsolete.

View the latest FAQs for Oklahoma public schools here.

Updated FAQs will also be available on OSDE’s COVID-19 Resources & FAQs web page located at sde.ok.gov/coronavirus.

Essential Resources for Families

As schools move to distance learning in the wake of COVID-19, families and caregivers are now facing a new role in ensuring their children are taking the necessary steps to finish schoolwork each day at home.

Learn how to maximize your child’s at-home learning time by following the tips for families below.

  • Work with your child to designate a space for learning that will limit distractions as they complete their school work.
  • Create a schedule. At times when life does not feel normal, helping students stay on a routine is helpful. Remember to maintain time for breaks, lunch and snacks, as well as walks and play.
  • Allow children time to interact with friends virtually or on the phone. This will help them maintain relationships and continue to build their social skills.
  • Emphasize that learning will continue even though it is not occurring in the normal setting.
  • New Resource - Engaging Families to Support Distance Learning

NOTE: Additional resources for families will be posted soon.

District Readiness Surveys for Teachers & Families

The following surveys will assist districts in determining local access to technology, internet and at-home resources. The information gathered through these surveys will aid districts as they transition to a distance learning environment while ensuring districts are responsive to the needs of local school personnel and households

View the District Staff Readiness Survey template, which can be used to gauge the abilities and preparedness of your staff before you develop your distance learning plan.

View the Family/Caregiver Survey template, which can be used to identify technology capabilities in students’ households. We encourage you to gather this information in multiple ways: Online surveys, social media groups, all calls, polls, etc.

Note: Please do not edit or answer directly on the surveys linked above. Districts may, however, make copies to use/modify the surveys for local use. If copies aren’t created, the results will go to the Oklahoma Department of Education and not to your individual school districts.

Essential Resources for Administrators

As you lead the development of your district’s distance learning plan, focus on communication and input while emphasizing order and a cohesive culture. Without appropriate framing and reasonable expectations, staff may quickly become overwhelmed. Don’t get stuck on perfection. Learn fast, be flexible, adapt and develop a feedback cycle with multiple check-ins.

Remember that you know your families and community best and understand how to meet their needs. In developing your plan, consider the following:

  • Technology available to students (internet, social media, devices, etc.)
  • Student/family needs and preferences. Include opportunities for family suggestions and feedback.

See the District Readiness Surveys above for ways to gather this information from your local community.

Devise stakeholder groups to assist you during this process. These could include students, teachers, administrators and families, among others.

Important Considerations Before You Begin

Before beginning the process, it is important for you and your leadership team to consider the following.

  • Purpose: Why are you doing this? Try to reach beyond, “Because we have to.” Focus on serving your students, staff, families and communities. Discuss why distance learning is important and share your vision for helping each child as you work together through this new challenge.
  • Vision: Share a vision of what distance learning could look like in your district or building. Each district/building is unique, so implementation will be unique. Listen and learn from your teachers as they share their insights and help paint a picture for how to serve students. Remember, they know your students best. These cannot be top-down decisions. Leaders must guide the process, not dictate.
  • Plan: Via Zoom or other virtual format, invite staff to share their capabilities, input and what skills they can quickly teach other staff.
    • Don’t get bogged down on what can’t be done or isn’t possible. Paths will open as teachers engage in discussion.
    • Allow staff members time to work virtually in smaller groups to discuss how to implement the new distance learning plan. Once those conversations have taken place, identify barriers and obstacles and determine workarounds or ways to move through them.
    • Remember that this is a different learning environment. As much as possible, try not to use technology to teach content in the same manner as you would in a regular classroom. Rather, let the technology and how students will interact with content act as a guide.
    • Less is more. Instead of having multiple teachers embracing different delivery platforms or various applications, choose a small number of digital resources and encourage specific staff to become proficient in one or two. These staff can then support co-workers through staff-created walkthrough and FAQ documents.
    • Try not to reinvent the wheel. Assess what applications and digital resources your staff are already familiar with and are comfortable using. These platforms may be leveraged without the learning curve associated with a completely new teaching tool.
  • Parts: Who will do what? On what timelines? Define the roles that need to be filled to make the plan work, who will fill those roles and available resources.

How to Develop & Implement a Distance Learning Plan

Get the ball rolling on your district’s distance learning plan by following our sample five-day implementation plan below. Here, you’ll find information such as how to organize a district task force, what to address in virtual staff meetings, how to support teachers, when to communicate with families and caregivers, and more.

First, your district must complete an assurance related to your Distance Learning Plan.

Before you begin the five-day implementation plan, set your district up for success by completing the following activities.

Prior to Five-Day Plan

  • Organize a district task force to discuss all aspects of your district’s distance learning plan and help make decisions. Consider folding in representatives from the following groups.
    • Administrators and other central office staff
    • Teachers
    • Special education leaders
    • Technology departments or district IT
    • Food service workers
    • Local education co-ops
  • Send the District Readiness Survey to district staff and the Family/Caregiver Survey to families within your district.
  • Review the results of these surveys as a task force to determine any issues related to internet access, technology and availability of materials within your local community. Begin to problem-solve and brainstorm how to tackle these issues.
  • Based on survey results, determine if a digital, paper-only or blended distance learning model would work for your community. Determine how you will deliver content to students. If you’re considering a paper-only option, review the Learning Packets section on this page under Essential Resources for Teachers > Grade Band & Content Area Instruction Guidance.
  • Identify teacher leaders at various grade levels and content areas and ask for their input. Prepare them to lead and help guide other educators within your district. Also, identify any teachers who could provide technology training to other teachers, if necessary.
  • If choosing to develop a digital distance learning plan, identify learning platforms that will be used by the school or district.
  • Review Making the Most of “Going Virtual” in Response to COVID-19 from Education First for tips on how to manage teams online.

Day 1

Meet virtually with your district’s task force, teacher leaders and other key personnel to discuss and determine the following.

  • Distance learning expectations
    • What essential outcomes must be addressed during the remainder of the school year?
    • How much time will you expect students to spend learning each day? How will that time be broken up?
    • Will students engage in exploratory class activities such as group projects handled virtually or with packets? If so, how and when?
  • Communication channels and processes
    • What will internal district communication look like?
    • What will your team do to stay connected moving forward?
    • What time will you meet daily/weekly and how will you connect (phone, video conference, etc.)?
    • How often will you touch base with the teachers in your district?
  • Professional development
    • Brainstorm a plan for virtual professional development for teachers.
  • Problem solving
    • Continue to tackle any local issues or hurdles such as helping families that need access to devices or the internet.
    • Brainstorm plans for food service, IEP services, etc.

Hold an all-staff virtual meeting.
Before you begin the meeting, remember that everyone on your staff will be processing the situation differently, and many staff members will be taking care of their own children during this time. Know that everyone is navigating this new reality with some level of uncertainty. Give teachers and staff the opportunity to be heard and listen to their concerns. It is imperative that you exhibit an abundance of empathy and patience.

During your virtual staff meeting, you should:

  • Introduce members of the district task force and share contact information.
  • Invite staff to ask questions and answer to the best of your ability. Keep a log of any questions you’re unable to answer so you can circle back with staff during future meetings.
  • Share relevant information including district survey results, distance learning expectations, district-approved learning tools and platforms, content delivery methods, etc.
  • Introduce teacher leaders and any individuals who staff can contact for instructional or technological assistance.
  • Discuss a communication strategy for families and caregivers and ask for educator input.
  • Let staff know what they can expect next by giving them an overview of this five-day plan.
  • Create a communication plan for sharing information and instructional materials.
  • Encourage staff to share what they need to be successful and brainstorm ways to remove any barriers.
  • Communicate the need for teachers to begin planning instruction as soon as possible.

Day 2

Hold an all-staff virtual meeting.

During this virtual meeting, you should:

  • Share plans for food service, IEP services, technology, etc.
  • Reiterate distance learning expectations and establish norms for student instruction time and realistic workload expectations for teachers.
  • Communicate desired outcomes for the remainder of the year while emphasizing realistic goals. Remember: Less is more.
  • Introduce teachers and staff to district-approved learning platforms and/ or tools by walking them through the process of getting up and running. Provide any necessary training. Practice, practice, practice.
  • Emphasize that teachers should check in on kids regularly once distance learning begins. This connection is as important as delivery of content and will create a sense of safety and stability for students.
  • Establish expectations for communication with families and caregivers.
  • Ensure administrators meet with grade bands to tackle any grade-specific issues.

Communicate with the community.

  • Share your district’s distance learning plan and expectations for the remainder of the school year with families and caregivers.
  • Share how, when and where students can pick up breakfast and lunch items, or share your district’s meal delivery plan, if applicable.
  • Communicate when families and caregivers can expect to receive information directly from teachers and who will receive this information.
  • Establish how students can get materials and technology from school buildings if needed. Share the process of loaning and returning devices, if needed, and how to appropriately clean or disinfect such devices.
  • Help families who need internet access.

Day 3

Allow teachers the time to brainstorm and create instructional materials.

During this time, be available for questions as they arise. Encourage teachers to share their thoughts and lesson plan ideas with fellow educators.

Teachers should:

  • Plan lessons and create content with a less-is-more focus on critical outcomes. Emphasize the need for quality over quantity.
  • Meet virtually in grade levels and/or content bands to share content, establish best practices, discuss how students will demonstrate their learning, collaborate and problem-solve.
  • Participate in any virtual technology training as needed.
  • Develop a plan for pick-up of essential materials from school buildings.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Suggest teachers test their lessons and activities with a partner.

Hold virtual meetings with small groups.

Meet with small groups within grade bands, content areas and/or division levels. Allow time for discussion and answer any questions that arise.

Hold an all-staff virtual meeting.

Answer questions while you collaborate and problem-solve as a team.

Day 4

Allow teachers the time to brainstorm and create instructional materials.

Once again, be available for questions as teachers create their individual lesson plans.

Teachers should continue to meet in small groups to share content and best practices as outlined in Day 3.

Communicate with students and families.

  • Reiterate expectations for the remainder of the school year and communicate daily expectations for student instruction time.
  • Stagger pickup of any supplies, materials or devices students will need from school buildings if 1:1 devices are not available. This can be done in conjunction with food pickups or deliveries.
  • Provide families with a list of any materials students will need.
  • Provide families with guidance regarding learning at home. Emphasize that at-home learning spaces should have good lighting with few distractions. Learning spaces should not be on a bed or near a television.

Day 5

Hold an all-staff virtual meeting.

Answer final questions and problem-solve any new challenges.

Allow teachers the time to brainstorm and create instructional materials.

Collaborate with teachers as needed and answer any additional questions.

Communicate with students and families.

  • Continue to stagger pickup of any supplies, materials or devices students will need from school buildings if 1:1 devices are not available. This can be done in conjunction with food pickups or deliveries.
  • Answer questions from students and families.

2-3 Days after Distance Learning Begins

  • Survey teachers, students and families to determine what is working well and what may need adjustment.
  • Modify your district’s distance learning plan or individual instruction as necessary.
  • Continue to check in with your teachers, students and families throughout the remainder of the school year and fine-tune your district’s plan. Remain flexible and keep communication lines open.
  • Celebrate successes and praise your teachers and staff. Thank them regularly for their efforts. Regular encouragement and support will help ease any fears or anxieties. Remind all staff that you’re in this together and will emerge stronger as a team once things return to normal.

Digital Learning Plans: Questions & Considerations

Districts should be strategic in preparing for digital learning instruction. Plans should be written and shared with stakeholders so all are aware of the district’s plans moving forward. A significant, large-scale switch to digital instruction will require multiple days of training and planning.

Before considering a transition to digital learning, schools should have answers to the following questions.


  • Do all students have access to necessary learning materials and devices? Adequate devices include internet-connected laptops, computers, tablets, and in some cases, gaming consoles like Playstation or Xbox. Cell phones alone should not be considered adequate.
  • Can the district/school loan devices to students? Most schools have mobile carts with devices that could be loaned to families.
    • If yes, share devices with families via meal delivery or pickup, if possible.
    • Remember to clean and sanitize devices prior to distribution and after return.
  • Do students live in areas that lack internet access? See the How to Tackle Local Connectivity Issues section below for possible solutions.
  • Does the district provide internet hotspots to students? This strategy could be useful for students who do not have access in the home but reside in areas that have broadband access.
  • Does the district collect family data on home internet access? If so, how recently was the data collected?
    • If you do not have data on home internet access, send a Family-Caregiver Survey to the families in your district to identify technology capabilities in students’ households.
    • For students who lack access, districts could consider seeking the assistance of local companies to provide hotspots for student use at low or no cost.
    • For students who reside in areas that lack broadband access, what are potential solutions that could ensure those students have equitable access to learning?
  • Do staff have access to technology and internet access in the home? Use the District Staff Readiness Survey to determine the availability of staff devices and internet access.
    • If staff lack internet access, how can the district provide it?
  • Can the district network handle the increased inbound/outbound traffic?
  • Do any adjustments to security protocols need to be made? Districts must ensure systems in use are secure and will not allow for the release of protected personal information (PPI) for students or staff.
  • Who will offer parents/students tech support?
    • How will this contact information be shared with parents and students?
    • What hours will they be available?

Family Considerations

  • How will you help students who do not have supervision and/or have multiple children in the home who need assistance with lessons? Parents are not teachers and may need to be working themselves. Plan now to avoid frustration later.

Teaching and Learning

  • When would digital learning begin?
  • Do schools have a learning management system (LMS) or another online learning platform? If not, what are the alternatives?
    • Do teachers have websites with comments enabled?
    • Can teachers email students or families daily?
    • Are video conferencing tools available?
  • What will a school day look like for students and teachers?
    • Elementary school
    • Middle school
    • High school
  • Other questions to consider:
    • Are teachers able to make screencast videos to share instruction?
  • How will work timetables and learning tasks be shared?
  • How much work will be expected of students?
  • How will teachers check in with students, and how often?
  • How can families share feedback?
  • How can students share feedback, and how will that feedback be used to improve digital instruction?
  • How will students balance online/offline time?
  • How will teachers and staff be supported?
  • How will teachers be trained for online content delivery?
  • How can educators juggle teaching if they have their own children home from school?
  • What role will non-teaching staff take on?
  • Who will take over the class if the teacher becomes ill?
  • What will the transition to online schooling look like?
  • What if families only have one device for multiple students?
  • How will you support English learners and special needs students (See relevant sections on English learners and special education students below)?
  • How will a school monitor the quality of assignments?
  • How can you make sure learning targets are clearly stated?
  • How can you make sure students have access to all of the necessary non-electronic materials and supplies needed to complete assignments?
  • How will students be given opportunities to demonstrate mastery of content? Will they be provided options and choices so that they can show mastery in the way that best fits their learning style?
  • Do digital resources require teachers or students to create online accounts? If so, how will this be handled?
  • How can you make sure students are of the legal age to use specific digital tools/sites and that the sites used by students do not violate student privacy laws? Moore Public Schools and Yukon Public Schools have repositories with this information for their teachers. These districts have agreed to share for use by other school districts: Moore resources; Yukon resources.


  • How can the school’s website be used to communicate information and/or lessons?
  • Have you developed a list of FAQs for parents so they understand their role in their child’s digital learning? Include information on how to carve out a space dedicated to learning. Emphasize the importance of adequate lighting and a space free of distractions.
  • When planning communication strategies, consider multiple methods. This may include email, video-conference meetings, web pages or a combination of all three. Remember to ask parents what methods of communication work best for them.


  • How will the district track virtual attendance? Students, parents and guardians must have a clear understanding of how attendance will be tracked.

Possible ways to track attendance:

  • Sign-ins to LMS
  • Sending/receiving emails
  • Viewing who is in attendance during a live video session or online chat
  • Uploads of images or videos documenting student learning
  • Documented attendance where live instruction has occurred with a teacher
  • Completion of assignments
  • Documented access to an ongoing lesson
  • Documented telephone conversations


Although many families have the devices and appropriate connectivity in place, the most at-risk children whom districts serve may not. In these difficult times, we cannot lose track of the needs of our most disadvantaged students.

It's important to note that equitable access does not require districts to offer the exact same content through the same channel for all students. Instead of abandoning a promising digital learning approach because not all students will have equal access to it from home, the plan should include an analysis of alternate deliveries of comparable educational content.

General Recommendations, Tips & Expectations

  • Maintain consistency of content delivery across the school and/or district. This makes it easier for students and parents to work within the same platform or with the same delivery method.
  • Maintain consistent availability to families and teachers and establish a standard form of communication, whether email, phone, text or video conference.
  • Provide guidance and support for faculty. Distance learning is a new and often challenging experience for them. Support them as needed and share their successes with others.
  • Provide teachers with tutorials and training needed to transition to online instruction.
  • Make sure all teachers are able to help students with login issues or know how to direct them to someone that can help.
  • Establish a protocol for video conferencing.
    • Mute microphone before joining a session/meeting.
    • Keep the background free of distraction.
    • Pay attention to the lighting.
    • Minimize background noise.
  • Establish a way families, teachers and students can pose ‘problems’ so these can be tweaked/fixed as you go.
  • Make sure technical support is available for students, teachers and families and that contact information is clearly communicated.
  • Set specific times when teachers can post assignments.

How to Tackle Local Connectivity Issues

Many communities lack large-scale access to broadband services, and many districts have not yet explored learning management systems to facilitate digital learning. We are including the resources below for your information only. Always do your own research before determining if any vendor product is a fit for your school or community.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has requested telecommunications and internet service providers nationwide sign the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. A number of companies have responded.

Additional resources are below:

Internet Connection

  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile’s EmpowerED 2.0 program works with districts to offer WiFi in communities.
  • Access by AT&T: A low-cost wireless home internet plan for low-income households at $5-$10 per month.
  • Cox Internet: Cox is offering to fast-track the qualification process for their Connect2Compete program. Schools should contact connectnow@cox.com with a list of eligible low-income students who currently do not have an internet connection. Cox will assist in getting students qualified quickly so they can continue learning from home. Cox has also partnered with PCs for People, which allows families to purchase discounted, refurbished computers.
  • Kajeet: Kajeet has expanded its Distance Learning Bundles to include flexible service terms and higher data amounts per month, minimizing costs to schools and increasing data plan sizes to accommodate heavier student data usage throughout the day.
  • Everyoneon.org: A nonprofit working to make high-speed, low-cost internet service and computers accessible to all unconnected Americans. Resources can be searched by zip code.
  • FCC’s Lifeline: Provides monthly discounts on internet access for eligible low-income subscribers.
  • Comcast: Comcast’s Internet Essentials offers reduced-price internet access for families on public assistance programs.

Technology Guidelines, Training & Resources

Technology can open doors and break down barriers for children, youth and adults. Below you’ll find guidance on how to provide IT support and suggested platforms for video conferencing.

IT Support & Passwords

  • Develop a tip sheet or FAQs for device care and internet safety.
  • Create protocols for providing IT support for teachers, students and caregivers.
    • Plan how teachers, parents and students will be able to submit a tech request if needed.
    • Communicate clearly if and/or when tech support will be available.
    • Consider providing IT support personnel beyond normal school hours. Not everyone will be working during normal school hours due to sharing of devices, etc.
    • Make sure students have access to their usernames and passwords needed for specific sites.Develop a plan to share this information with families as necessary.

Technology Training for Staff

  • Prioritize training needs and don’t overtrain. Only provide training for tools that are essential to teachers and student access.
  • Training should be done virtually. Consider recording training sessions so staff can view at a later time.
  • Utilize existing training materials, when available.
  • Allow teachers or staff who have strong technology skills to lead training sessions when appropriate. Remember that the most effective professional development includes peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

Video Conferencing/Video Recording Tools

During distance learning, it is vital for students to maintain face-to-face interactions with their teachers and peers. Explore the video conferencing options below to help your district staff and students stay connected during school closure.

Video conferencing can be done in a variety of ways. Whichever method or combination of methods you use, make sure to record and save all videos for future reference or later use.

  • Daily lesson introduction: Teachers meet with students for a short, live introduction to what will be covered during the lesson/day.
  • Whole-class video conference: Teachers meet with the entire class at one time to conduct a lesson. Teachers are able to share their screens, as are students. Participants are able to ask questions through a chat feature or through direct correspondence with their class.
  • Individual video conferences: Teachers meet with individual students for one-on-one instruction or to answer questions.
  • On-demand video conferences: Teachers set conference times and students attend as needed.
  • Small-group conferences: Teachers meet with small groups to provide group instruction.

Popular tools for videoconferencing (most allow for screen-sharing capabilities):

  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Google Meet
  • Skype

Screencasting is when a teacher makes a recording, often sharing the teacher’s computer screen, with students. This allows the teacher to provide directions, show students how to maneuver sites, and even allows students to refer back to the video directions if they need assistance.

Popular screencasting tools:

  • Loom
  • Screencastify
  • Screencast-o-matic
  • Zoom

Learning Management Systems

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform used by schools to digitally deliver instructional content and materials, collect assignments from students and assess students.

Schools that do not currently use an LMS may want to consider one as an option for content delivery.

As schools determine the best way to deliver information and instruction to their students, it is best to use only one method of delivery (i.e., platform) for all teachers and learners in the district. This allows for consistency for all stakeholders and allows for help among all users.

It is also important to make sure you’re aware of the privacy policies and terms of service of any tool or platform selected.

  • Google Classroom: Google Classroom is a free tool that many schools use as a cost-effective method of content delivery. Any school that is a Google school has access to this tool. While it is not as robust as other LMS tools, it is easy to use and can be used by all K-12 students. Many educational websites integrate easily with Google Classroom, and there are vast amounts of training resources available online.
  • Edmodo: Edmodo is a free learning platform that is easy to navigate and has a format similar to Facebook.
  • Moodle: Moodle is a free and open-source learning platform.
  • Canvas: Canvas offers free accounts to teachers and schools. Many school districts in Oklahoma use this platform.
  • Schoology: Schoology has designed a free package that could support a wide-scale operation without compromising customer experience. This option is only available to current PowerSchool SIS and eSchool Plus customers. If that does not describe your district, you can use this form to learn more. Many school districts in Oklahoma use this platform.
  • Gabbart Communications - Free licensing and training videos. One-time integration fee.

Curriculum Content Providers

  • Edgenuity: Edgenuity has a no-cost, teacher-led online solution where educators can quickly and easily use Edgenuity’s online curriculum to continue offering instruction to students during a closure. Educators broadcast themselves teaching lessons using Zoom or Google Classroom so students can continue learning.
  • Edmentum: Edmentum is providing free program access to Study Island for Home, two free months of access to Study Island or two free courses in EdOptions Academy to any school or district who has experienced closures due to this virus.
  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy has a library of standards-aligned lessons covering kindergarten through early college math, grammar, science, history, AP courses and more. Students can practice skills with exercises, quizzes and mastery challenges and get immediate feedback and support. They are even sharing suggested daily schedules with links to curriculum sorted by grade-level bands.

Essential Resources for Teachers

Teachers should keep in mind that distance learning is providing students with continued learning opportunities at home. It may, or may not, include technology. To support students and families through distance learning, it is important to establish a local district policy and approach for distance learning.

For example, a district policy might be: Although the campus is temporarily closed, “school” continues as we engage students with experiences that provide opportunities for distance learning and help them stay connected with teachers and classmates. These learning experiences offer opportunities to focus on key concepts, knowledge and skills. They emphasize interaction and creativity and involve a balance of on-screen and off-screen tasks that help reinforce previous learning.

General Recommendations, Tips & Expectations

High-Level Planning

  • Identify essential outcomes/needs/competencies in content areas at the district level.
  • Determine whether students are completing work online, traditionally or in a blended manner.
  • Include non-technology-based options for students and families in all districts, buildings and grade levels.
  • Establish a method of submitting assignments and make this consistent for all teachers to avoid confusion for students and families.
  • View sample lesson plan templates: Example 1, Example 2
  • Consider using Google Classroom, a free platform for content delivery where families are unable to view content unless they log in as the student.
  • Review the Video Conferencing/Video Recording Tools, Learning Management Systems and Curriculum Content Providers sections located above under Technology Guidelines, Training & Resources.

Student Instructional Supports & Interactions

  • Establish office hours when you’ll be available for student or family check-ins.
  • Create projects or choice boards that give students and families flexibility to complete work and tap into their interests and motivation for learning.
  • Consider ways to focus on relationships and connections, not just content.
  • Remember to provide feedback so students understand their progress and feel connected.
  • Set clear expectations for assignments.
  • Respond to student work in a timely manner.
  • Be patient as students learn how to work online. Some will be unfamiliar with how to work independently.
  • Provide models for student work so students understand expectations and can see examples of the lesson in practice.
  • Engage in cross-curricular planning to assist each student in managing school work and new responsibilities at home.
  • Keep variables in mind when you plan your lessons, keeping in mind that students may have:
    • Multiple classes
    • Other responsibilities
    • Personal or family illness
    • Limited access to devices and internet
  • Call parents when necessary.

Technology & Online Instruction

  • Use common platforms (suggested or already in use) across a district to alleviate any confusion for parents and students about whether students are completing work online or traditionally. Stick with programs your students are already familiar with, if possible.
  • Use the same method of communication to parents so they know how to expect information.
  • Remember that in online activities, lessons may take longer than expected due to technical issues, language barriers, etc.
  • Make sure students have all required logins needed to access websites and online materials, if using.
  • Don’t try to mimic an actual school day – it’s not a normal situation.
    • Kids are stressed.
    • They are not used to different learning situations.
    • Many kids cannot self-manage their schedule.
  • Lessen the workload. Since it takes longer to complete work online and at home, choose 2-4 subjects a day to focus on.
  • Balance screen time. Example: Don’t make students type out all assignments. Have them write it and text or email you a picture. Also, schedule time to be away from computers – for you and students.
  • Not all students will have strong internet connections. Remember that some students may only be able to complete non-digital assignments and plan accordingly.
  • Remember that some households will have multiple kids impacted at different grade levels and will not have full access to assistance.
  • Focus on essential learning for students. Less is more. Simplify content by determining key pieces and what works with the tools that are available.
  • Be flexible and ready to adapt when needs arise. Understand that you will need to make changes from how you normally “do school.” Be prepared for things not to work how you expect them to and go with the flow.
  • Extend grace to all. These are unprecedented times.
  • Post a short “good morning” video or message to let the students see you or hear from you.
  • Send a weekly email to parents to maintain communication and share what students are learning.
  • Create a daily checklist of exactly what students should do each day.
  • Monitor student morale and workload, and adjust as needed.
  • Establish set times for drop-ins using Zoom or other tools.
  • Create screencasts for delivering instructions and encouragement.
  • Work with your support teams (paraprofessionals, reading coaches, etc.) to use video chat to check in with those needing extra help.
  • Establish the boundaries of the school day and do not assign work after normal school hours.
  • Maintain a professional image when recording videos or video conferencing. Keep your background free of distractions, pay attention to lighting and minimize background noise.
  • Set procedures for students if you are using video conferencing. Ask students to mute the microphone before entering a session and keep the background view free of distractions.
  • Monitor the amount of work you are asking students to do; it is easy to over-assign in digital learning.
  • Establish consistent work expectations among teachers.
  • Find ways to connect with students (share articles, emails and virtual office hours).
  • Try to keep your stress levels reasonable. If you are stressed, students will be stressed as well.
  • Use Google Calendar appointments/Google Meet to set office hours or make appointments with other teachers.
  • Record online lectures so students can view on their own time.
  • Take time to converse with students, checking in to see how they are doing and how their day is going.
  • Try to provide a daily schedule to help students establish a routine.
  • Be compassionate and caring. Maintain the connection you have built with your students.

Tips for Elementary Teachers

  • Provide an easy-to-follow guide for what gets covered.
  • Consider alternating days for some subjects (reading and science on one day, math and social studies on the next, for example).
  • Instruction should begin at a specific time each day.
  • Have a daily or near-daily check-in with your specialists to make sure they’re spending time with students who need extra attention.
  • Allow your students to see your face regularly. This helps to ensure continuity and a sense of community.
  • Be flexible with young students since these younger children are dependent on parents and have monitored access to digital devices.
  • Any home computer or tablet connected to the internet can work for virtual learning.
  • Instruction can include:
    • Core subject instruction from teachers for continuity of learning.
    • Live or recorded exploratory classes.
    • Live or recorded guidance lessons from counselors to meet social-emotional concerns.

Tips for Middle & High School Teachers

  • The first day at home doesn’t need to be a day of instruction. Consider asking students to get prepared for virtual learning on the second day, allowing them to test any new sites or tools that are unfamiliar to them.
  • On the first day of virtual learning, teachers should share procedures and expectations for the class with students.
  • Instruction should begin at a specific time each day.
  • Suggest students establish a learning space in their home conducive to interacting with teachers. They should not be sitting in bed, but should designate a desk or table and ensure the background is appropriate for other students and teachers.
  • Ask students to limit distractions, including pets, television, social media, apps, music, etc.
  • Give students clear directions on the tools they should use to communicate with teachers.
  • Encourage students to contact staff with questions, preferably via email.
  • Make sure students know who to contact if technical issues arise.

Questions to consider for every grade band and content area when planning for distance learning:

  • How might the makeup of each family impact the way they engage with distance learning (family structure, location, financial resources, social-emotional support, etc.)?
  • How can we provide culturally and linguistically relevant resources for each student and family?
  • How can we see this family and their student’s learning through a trauma-informed lens?
  • In what ways can we allow families to individualize distance learning?

Districts should consider their unique local context when planning for instruction and allow flexibility for families and students in terms of scheduling. The sample daily schedules below are only examples of how districts might plan instruction for each grade level.

Prekindergarten & Kindergarten: 45 minutes a day

  • 15 minutes read-aloud and literacy skills
  • 15 minutes math
  • 15 minutes of reading skills practices (i.e. rhyming, sounds in a word, and letter names and letter sounds)
  • Extended learning:
    • 30-60 minutes of outdoor play
    • 10-20 minutes of reading with family (books of their choice)
    • 30 minutes of imaginative play

1st & 2nd Grade: 1 hour and 10 minutes a day

  • 30 minutes for read-aloud or independent reading, including reading tasks or writing prompts
  • 20 minutes for a combination of math lessons, activities, application practice or games focused on concepts, skills or content (i.e., number sense, computation, problem solving, etc.) three times a week
  • 20 minutes of science/social studies activities or lessons connected to an overarching project or topic of study one time a week each
  • Flexible time for physical education, music, art, world languages, etc.

3rd through 5th grade: 1 hour and 20 minutes a day

  • 20 minutes of read-aloud or independent reading
  • 20 minutes of reading or writing lessons, tasks or prompts; may include 15 minutes of independent writing
  • 20 minutes for a combination of math lessons, activities, application practice or games focused on concepts, skills or content of the unit (i.e., number sense, computation, problem solving, etc.)
  • 20 minutes of science/social studies activities or lessons connected to an overarching project or topic of study
  • Flexible time for physical education, music, art, world languages, etc.

6th through 12th grade: 3 hours a day

  • 40-60 minutes, 4 times a week for English
  • 40-60 minutes, 4 times a week for math
  • 40-60 minutes, 2 times a week for science
  • 40-60 minutes, 2 times a week for social studies
  • Flexible time for physical education, music, art, world languages, etc.
  • Additional time may be required for Advanced Placement or IB courses

Grade Band & Content Area Instruction Guidance

This information is intended to support Oklahoma teachers and districts with general recommendations for distance learning and instruction. More in-depth guidance and resources are available for each grade band and content area at https://sde.ok.gov/covid19-instruction-support and by reaching out directly to OSDE Curriculum and Instruction staff.

Also, OSDE’s Family Guides are excellent resources for teachers to share with families or use for distance learning ideas. These guides are organized by grade level (PreK-6) and content area. They are also available in Spanish.

Learning Packets

Learning packets with paper lessons and activities may be the most appropriate and realistic way for teachers to ensure distance learning for some students and families. In these cases, teachers may need to request permission to enter the building to photocopy materials, place them in folders and arrange for safe pickup, keeping in mind that gatherings should follow CDC guidelines (currently no more than 10 people at a time). Districts delivering meals by bus to students’ homes might also be able to deliver packets. Some teachers may choose to take cell phone pictures of packet materials and send the photos to students digitally.

If teachers opt to send packets home, it is imperative that those distributing and returning materials follow CDC-approved guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19. Before and after handling packages, wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or, when soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol or above and rub hands until dry.

Early Childhood (Prekindergarten through 2nd grade)

  • Connect with each of your students every week via video chat, Zoom or phone calls.
  • Focus on student progress and learning, not assignment completion and due dates.
  • Establish “office hours” for communication with families – a consistent time when you will be available to answer questions and provide guidance. Communication with families will be critical to your students’ success.
  • Provide resources and directions for caretakers for all activities. If parents have to be at work, older siblings may be helping with instruction.
  • Make kits with hands-on materials families can pick up or have delivered weekly or bi-weekly. It is imperative that kits be distributed and returned in keeping with CDC-approved guidelines for social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19.
  • Help families create predictable routines for learning. Share reasonable recommendations for minutes for each activity that families can easily accomplish.
  • Establish a timeline to complete work. This might include weekly check-ins with each family, open-ended discussion with the child, parents taking pictures of work and submitting through app, email or text, or regular “challenges” to showcase learning. Be sure to include non-technological opportunities for children who may not have technology in the home.
  • Emphasize the importance of daily reading with your children and share ways families can access free books online or access videos of people reading books online.
  • Work with families to create a predictable routine each day for learning and play, in whatever time frame works best for each family.
  • Share what you do in your classroom that could work at home, using resources your students are familiar with.
  • Provide options for activities that families or caregivers might complete with their students.
  • Provide prompts or video sources for families to use during play and reading that encourage critical thinking. For example, “Tell me about what you are drawing,” “What made you think of that?” “How could you…,” etc.
  • View the Early Childhood Distance Learning Guidance Document, the Grade 1-2 Distance Learning Guidance Document and the PK-5 Specials Distance Learning Guidance Document for additional guidance and resources.

Elementary (3rd-5th Grade)

  • Focus on student progress and learning, not assignment completion and due dates.
  • Communicate with students and families using tools teachers, students and families are already familiar with.
  • Connect with each student at least weekly via video chat, Zoom, phone call or text.
  • Create learning opportunities using familiar wording that resembles classroom content.
  • Create cross-curricular activities and assignments when possible to maximize efficiency.
  • Emphasize the importance of daily reading for students and share ways families can access free books online.
  • Read a science or history article and use questions, discussions, writing reflections and comprehension to spark discussion and activities.
  • Provide prompts for families to use with students to encourage critical thinking in reading. For example, “Tell me about what you are reading,” “What do you think about…,” etc.
  • Suggest simple science investigations students can do at home or investigations students can do in their backyards or on walks with the family.
  • Use activities your students may already be familiar with.
  • Use grab-and-go packets as alternatives to technology – print materials, games, school supplies, books and manipulatives. It is imperative that kits be distributed and returned in keeping with CDC-approved guidelines for social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19.
  • Use choice boards with options for students to complete activities.
  • Encourage journaling.
  • Prompt students to showcase their learning in a variety of ways (i.e., through drawing, short writings, videos of students sharing their thoughts to prompts, etc.).
  • Address multiple learning styles (learning through movement, art, music, etc.). 
  • View the Grade 3-5 Distance Learning Guidance Document and PK-5 Specials Distance Learning Guidance Document for additional guidance and resources.

Secondary (Middle School and High School)

General guidance for all subjects:

  • When planning for instruction, think about:
    • How will you connect with students and connect students with one another?
    • How will you collect any documentation of student work?
    • How will you provide feedback to students?
  • Focus on a few concepts and skills and develop enrichment or review activities for students to do (e.g., have students read two current articles with opposing views on a topic and discuss similarities and differences)
  • When giving assignments to students, make sure the instructions are clear and consider giving an example of the final product you expect from students, along with a clear due date for any assignments.
  • Maintain flexibility for completion of assignments; students are juggling several subjects and the uncertainty of being in the middle of a historic moment.
  • Use teacher check-ins to monitor progress.
  • When possible or if possible, use cell phones in activities, keeping in mind that some students may not have unlimited data or texting capability.
  • Create a central virtual location and time for students and families to ask questions and share concerns.
  • Offer a delivery method that is manageable and accessible to students.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for students to communicate their learning and understanding through writing, discussion boards or short videos.
  • Provide students choices where possible for assignments.
  • Adjust resources according to different grade levels as needed.
  • Communication is critical. Find a communication method or platform you are comfortable with so that students may ask questions, connect with their class and seek individual help.
    • Communication platform examples include: Remind, GroupMe, Zoom, Skype, Google Meeting, Google Hangouts, etc.
  • Construct “distance learning kits” that can be picked up, dropped off or made available through parent email for those without devices, reliable internet or printer access. It is imperative that kits be distributed and returned in keeping with CDC-approved guidelines for social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19.
  • Provide regular and frequent teacher check-ins (by former class periods or an advisory group from when school remained in session).

English Language Arts

  • Select high-interest, engaging materials for students to read and write about.
  • Reflect through writing and journals:
    • How are students processing this situation?
    • How are students feeling? Are they anxious? Excited? Numb? Encourage them to explore how they are responding to the pandemic in their writing.
    • How are students’ roles changing at home or work as a result of the coronavirus?
    • What are students learning about this pandemic? What questions do they feel have not yet been answered?
    • This may be a popular activity across subjects, so coordinate with colleagues to ensure students aren’t replicating their writings.
  • Create or share video tutorials about how to use resources for students (5-7 minutes long, max).
  • Encourage reading and writing connections with other subject areas through cross-collaborative planning with other teachers.
  • Provide links to free online books on district websites or classroom communication platforms.
  • View the 6-12 English Language Arts Distance Learning Guidance Document for additional guidance and resources.

Math & Science

  • Select high-interest, engaging materials.
  • Encourage project-based or inquiry activities that are connected to the real world (e.g., have students create the most efficient container to ship a product or take a walk and document the different types of plants they observe and ask them to explain why they may have seen different plants in different places along the walk).
  • Post personalized videos for the hook, connection and content of current learning (5-7 minutes long, max).
  • Provide lessons that include daily instruction/practice, frequent screen tutorials (daily or weekly), YouTube videos and/or podcasts.
  • View the 6-12 Mathematics Distance Learning Guidance Document and the 6-12 Science Distance Learning Guidance Document for additional guidance and resources.

Social Studies

  • Select high-interest, engaging materials.
  • Ask students to journal about what’s happening in their lives at this moment in history. Are they practicing social distancing? How do they feel about that? What policies are they seeing put in place in their community?, etc.
  • Tie in the current situation with other similar historical moments. This will connect students to past national challenges.
  • Provide primary source documents for social studies.
  • Post personalized videos for the hook, connection and content of current learning (5-7 minutes long, max).
  • View the 6-12 Social Studies Distance Learning Guidance Document for additional guidance and resources.

Other Content Areas

This guidance refers to “specials,” such as visual art, music, physical education, health, world languages, etc.

  • Distribute fitness calendars, art prompts, etc., to give a broad “menu” of options that would require little to no home equipment.
  • Consider focusing on providing opportunities to encourage art behaviors (”studio habits of mind”) as outcomes, rather than specific art content (observe, envision, express, develop skill, engage & persist, reflect, etc.).
  • Create a document with familiar songs for students to sing at home.
  • Follow copyright expectations.
  • For schools with digital/online access, provide links to projects online (practice tracks for music, video demonstrations, project resources shared through a content management platform, etc.).
  • Create “project packs” for students in need of supplies (paper, pencils, consumable manipulatives or supplies). It is imperative that kits be distributed and returned in keeping with CDC-approved guidelines for social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19.
  • View the 6-12 Electives Distance Learning 5-12 for additional guidance and resources.

Special Education & English Learner Resources

Special Education


OSDE's Office of Special Education Services (OSDE-SES) has created guidance for special education directors and teachers.

View OSDE’s Special Education Services web page for guidance, including FAQs on providing services to children with disabilities during school closures and FAQs for families and parents of students with disabilities.

District staff and teachers should consult this guidance, which is updated frequently, when making decisions regarding services for students with IEPs and other areas regarding the IDEA.

What are special education requirements during distance learning?

IDEA requirements cannot be waived. Requirements for IEP development and review, evaluations and eligibility, the provision of special education and related services, data and reporting, monitoring and funding are still in place. However, methods to meet these requirements may look different during this time.

In particular, the OSDE-SES expects all districts to comply with requirements to convene IEP meetings for students in a timely manner.

Schools should encourage family/caregiver participation at meetings via alternate means, including telephone or video conference, which are allowable under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 34 CFR § 300.322.

Districts should also consider ways to use distance technology (e.g., Zoom, conference calls) to the extent possible to provide Child Find meetings and hold initial and annual IEP meetings and/or evaluation/eligibility meetings.

School districts should act in good faith to support the needs of students with disabilities during this challenging time while being attentive to the health and safety of students, educators and other service providers. The OSDE’s goal is to provide maximum flexibility regarding regulatory compliance requirements in this context.

English Learners

In light of COVID-19 and the implementation of distance learning programs across the state, it is imperative that districts address the key questions below in order to uphold the civil rights of the English learner (EL) populations they serve.

Districts are still required to identify and assess EL students in need of language assistance in a timely, valid and reliable manner.

Key questions to address:

  • How will the enrollment process change for potential EL students? Note: EL students are identified when parents or guardians submit a response of “one or more languages other than English” on the Home Language Survey.
  • Which staff member(s) will be available or on-call to administer the WIDA Screener and create an ELAP, if necessary?
  • If a student is identified as an EL, who will complete the student English Language Acquisition Plan (ELAP), and how will it be distributed to the student’s teacher(s)?
  • Who will ensure that the student’s parent or guardian receives the required parent notification letter and the completed ELAP?

Districts must provide EL students with a language assistance program that is educationally sound and proven successful.

Key questions to address:

  • How will the district’s Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP) change in response to the current situation?
  • What training, supports and/or resources will teachers need in order to modify and adapt English learner coursework for distance learning?
  • If the district’s distance learning plan relies on specific technology, who will be responsible for ensuring EL students 1) have access to the required device(s) and/or platforms and 2) understand how to successfully access instruction?

Districts must ensure meaningful communication with non-English speaking families and caregivers.

Key questions to address:

  • Who will be the primary point of contact at the district level for non-English speaking parents and guardians? How will this information be conveyed?
  • Who will be responsible for ensuring all district communication is accessible to both English and non-English speaking parents and guardians?
  • If the district is relying primarily on digital delivery mechanisms for parental contact, how will the district notify non-English speaking parents and guardians? Is the platform(s) able to convey information in languages other than English?

Best Practices for Teachers of EL Students

  • Break up the content. Just like in a traditional classroom, EL students will show greater engagement and utilize more domains of speech when asked to participate in a variety of tasks and activities. Try to focus on lessons that alternate between lectures, peer-to-peer discussion (if possible), video and audio clips, at-home projects, assessment, etc.
  • Limit the size of online group interactions. As a general rule, the greater the number of students grouped in an online activity, the more difficult it will be to manage. Situations like this are less effective instructionally, especially for English learners. Try to keep online groups small (ideally 3-5). Also, remain flexible when scheduling group interactions so that you have time to address all groups individually.
  • Be accessible to your students. Most students (and many teachers) have no experience with distance learning. The more you can facilitate the process and provide direct support, the more engaged the student will be. Ensure you have access to district staff who can assist in communicating instructions and/or expectations to non-English speaking students and parents.
  • Communicating the “how” is vital for engagement. Before expecting a student to engage in any distance learning activity, practice the activity using devices your students have access to and/or with the same available resources. As you proceed through an activity, create a troubleshooting guide that addresses any steps that may be confusing and include tips for success. Ensure all students have the troubleshooting guide prior to the activity. If the student is a lower-level language English learner, this document should be translated into their native language.
  • Allow for multiple modalities in assessment. Remain flexible in how students, especially ELs, show mastery of content. Before asking a student to engage in an activity, brainstorm various ways you could assess the level of learning that has occured (traditional test, project, verbal argument, etc.), and look for possible ways to implement those assessments within the constraints of your delivery model.
  • Have a backup plan. Understand that even when implementing a well-designed and supported digital delivery strategy, some students will be unable to access instruction. Issues outside of your control, such as consistent internet access, hardware issues, software issues, etc., can all work to derail student engagement. When this becomes an issue, it is important to have ready some sort of secondary instruction that is not dependent on available technology (paper packets, readers, etc.).

Additional Resources

Child Nutrition Resources

Meal Service & Delivery

Many schools are providing free meals through the USDA Seamless Summer Option (SSO) or the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) due to unanticipated school closure for COVID-­19. Meals are available to kids and teens who come to a meal site or are part of a mobile route. Food served should be healthy and follow USDA nutrition guidelines. Meals will not have to be eaten on-­site and can be taken home. No application or proof of income is needed.

If you have questions or would like to serve meals during a school closure, contact Jennifer Weber at jennifer.weber@sde.ok.gov or (405) 522-5048. Please reference the Child Nutrition web page for more information.

Waivers: Approved & Pending

OSDE has submitted waiver requests regarding Child Nutrition programs during the COVID-19 outbreak to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These waiver requests are meant to provide districts with the necessary flexibility to continue serving meals to students during school closures. Below, you’ll find a list of approved and pending waivers. Check back often for updates.

APPROVED: Congregate Feeding Waiver

This waiver allows schools to serve meals during school closures for COVID-19 in a non-congregate setting. This waiver was part of one of three nationwide waivers that USDA issued on March 20, 2020, for all Child Nutrition Programs.

APPROVED: Unanticipated School Closure Waiver

This waiver allows schools to serve meals away from a school site during an unanticipated school closure.

APPROVED: Meal Service Time Flexibility

This waiver allows for Seamless Summer Option/Summer Food Service Program participants to serve more than one meal to a child at a time (i.e.: breakfast and lunch, lunch and snack) and to give up to five days’ worth of meals if needed in a grab-and-go setting. This waiver was part of one of three nationwide waivers that USDA issued on March 20, 2020, for all Child Nutrition Programs.

APPROVED: Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Waiver

This waiver is for sites operating CACFP At-Risk during a COVID-19 related school closure. This waives the enrichment activity requirement and allows sites to serve meals in a non-congregate setting. This waiver was part of one of three nationwide waivers that USDA issued on March 20, 2020, for all Child Nutrition Programs.

APPROVED: Area Eligibility Waiver

This statewide waiver provides flexibility for schools that do not meet the Area Eligibility requirement of being 50% free and reduced. This waiver allows non-Area Eligible School Food Authorities in good standing to feed students under the Emergency School Closure provision of the SSO and SFSP.

PENDING: Meal Pattern Flexibility for SSO/SFSP Waiver

This statewide waiver for meal pattern flexibility for the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) would provide shelf-stable alternative foods for alternative meal serving models so participants do not go hungry. It has not yet been approved.

Social-Emotional Learning Resources

How to Talk to Children About COVID-19

Why it’s important to discuss COVID-19 with children

Collectively, we are all involved in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Students, educators, families and communities must be aware of the facts involved in the coronavirus pandemic.

What should be included in the discussion?

Families and educators should remember to keep the conversation appropriate to the child’s developmental age. Share facts using age-appropriate terminology, actively listen to students’ concerns and answer their questions as best as you can. It’s okay to let them know if you are unsure of the answer.

How to communicate information about COVID-19 to children

  • Stay calm and reassuring
  • Ask what they know or what they’ve heard
  • Keep children updated with facts
  • Be honest and available for discussions
  • Allow children to express their feelings
  • Validate their feelings
  • Limit media exposure
  • Clarify misinformation or misunderstandings such as stigmas and racial inaccuracies and historical context

Reactions to Expect From Children and How to Help

Age group: Preschool

Reactions may include the following.

  • Fear of being alone, clingy with trusted adults
  • Speech difficulties, physical aches and pains
  • Fears expressed through stories or play
  • Change in appetite
  • Increased temper tantrums, whining or being withdrawn

How to help:

  • Exhibit patience and tolerance
  • Provide verbal and physical reassurance of safety
  • Encourage expression through play, reenactment, storytelling and drawing
  • Allow short-term changes in sleep arrangements
  • Model self-care: Eat and provide healthy meals; maintain good sleep routines
  • Plan calming, comforting activities before bedtime
  • Maintain regular family routines

Age group: Elementary (Ages 6-10)

Reactions may include the following.

  • Irritability, whining, aggressive behavior
  • Clingy with trusted adults
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep and/or appetite disturbance
  • Physical symptoms (headaches, stomachaches)
  • Withdrawal from peers, loss of interest
  • Competition for family/parents’ attention
  • Forgetfulness about chores and new information learned

How to help:

  • Exhibit patience, tolerance and reassurance
  • Encourage play sessions and staying in touch with friends through telephone and internet
  • Be present and tolerant
  • Encourage regular exercise and stretching
  • Give structured household tasks
  • Engage in educational activities
  • Discuss the current outbreak and encourage questions. Talk about what they’ve seen or heard online or in the media, and include what is being done in the family and community to help reduce the spread of the outbreak.
  • Encourage expression through play and conversation
  • Help create ideas for enhancing positive health behaviors
  • Maintain family routines

Age group: Middle & High School Students (Ages 11-19)

Reactions may include the following.

  • Physical symptoms (headaches, rashes, etc.)
  • Sleep and/or appetite disturbance
  • Agitation or decrease in energy, apathy
  • Ignoring positive health behaviors
  • Isolating from peers and loved ones
  • Concerns about stigma and injustice

How to help:

  • Encourage self-care by modeling healthy eating, exercise, good sleep hygiene, deep breathing and meditation
  • Allow time to unwind
  • Encourage connecting with others using phones or the internet
  • Emphasize safety. Let them know it’s okay to be upset and scared. Share with them how to deal with stress and anxiety in a healthy way.

Educator Guide to Social-Emotional Learning

Why teach social-emotional skills?

Social-emotional skills are needed for children and adults to identify and manage thoughts, emotions and behaviors so they can develop and maintain healthy lifestyles. Positive social-emotional skills help us build healthy relationships, achieve goals, express empathy, make responsible decisions and practice positive self-care.

Educators, like families, must address the needs of the whole child, and it will be critically important to focus on the behavioral health of children, families, school staff and communities during this pandemic.

What is social-emotional learning?

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set positive goals, show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. According to The Collaborative of Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), there are five core competencies of SEL.

  • Self-Awareness: The ability to accurately recognize our emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing our strengths and limitations and having a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
  • Self-Management: The ability to regulate our emotions, thoughts and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, self-motivation and setting and working toward personal and academic goals.
  • Social Awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school and community resources and supports.
  • Relationship Skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively and seeking/offering help when needed.
  • Responsible Decision-Making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions and the well-being of self and others.

Resources for Supporting Social-Emotional Skills

Administrators & Counselors:

Teachers & Parents:

OSDE would like to thank the Kansas Department of Education and the Kansas Continuous Learning Task Force for sharing their work and allowing Oklahoma to use some of their materials in the creation of this guidance.

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Last updated on April 3, 2020