May 14, 2020

Essential Questions for 2020-2021 Reopening: A Planning Workbook for Education Leaders

By Tresha Francis Ward | Stephanie Spangler

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In April, we released a four-phase strategic planning tool to support the COVID-19 education response, providing a framework for leaders responding to the crisis. Now, as leaders consider reopening schools in the fall, there are numerous versions of what schooling could look like in different communities. 

Leaders can begin planning right away even amid uncertainty. This new resource, “Essential Questions for 2020-2021 Reopening: A Planning Workbook for Education Leaders,” zeroes in on the three most strategically and operationally distinct scenarios: all in-person learning, all distance learning, or a hybrid. We define “hybrid” as when a subset of students is learning in person and a subset is learning remotely simultaneously due to local policies, staggered schedules, and/or parents choosing to keep students home for health or safety reasons. Given the virus’ unpredictability and the high possibility of “rolling closures,” leaders will be in a strong position if they have plans that cover these core scenarios and are ready to move between them. 


Building on these three scenarios, this resource offers key steps leaders should take as they plan for reopening, including:    

  • Reflecting on the effectiveness of their spring response and considering implications for their plans to reopen.
  • Considering how to operate across these scenarios (in person, full distance, and hybrid) and deciding which tasks must happen now, later, or not at all.
  • Within those scenarios, planning for the core functions of academics, culture, finance + operations, and talent.            
  • Continuing to engage internal and external stakeholders over the summer and into the fall.        

Download the tool here to access the templates you can use or modify.

We know this is just a starting point in many complex decisions for leaders. We look forward to continuing to partner with schools, districts, and networks through robust implementation and tailored evaluation of their context. Get in touch if you’d like strategic planning support in customizing these tools for your organization.

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