As districts have moved to distance learning amid fears of the spread of COVID-19, it has been a learning experience for all — even in schools like ours that have had a 1:1 computer initiative for years.

Jersey Community High School is located in a small rural district in southwest Illinois, about 45 miles from St. Louis. We’re the only high school in the county and serve about 1,000 students in grades 8-12. When we launched a 1:1 initiative with Chromebooks several years ago, students quickly embraced the daily use of computers and educational technology.

Related content: How this district moved online with a moment’s notice

Now, as we complete our third week of remote learning, I have seen this experience bring both challenges and opportunities. Here are a few strategies we have implemented to make the shift to distance learning, along with a few lessons learned along the way.

Five ways to support the shift to distance learning

Determine who has access to technology and plan accordingly.

In our district, we found out on a Friday that our schools would shut down the following Tuesday, which meant we had the weekend to prepare. More importantly, we had that Monday with students so we could gather information from them and tell them what to expect in the coming weeks. Having that one day with them was incredibly helpful.

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About the Author:

Beth Morgan is a teacher and head of the English department at Jersey Community High School. The school is part of Jersey Community Unit School District (CUSD) No. 100, a small, rural district in Illinois.


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