Stronger Together: Continuity of RelationshipsPart of Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California's Public Schools. Created through the Reopening Schools Task Force that fostered a collaborative process for educators and stakeholders to lend their important voices.
Continuity of Relationships and Learning Plans
Through the COVID-19 pandemic the importance of the physical space of schools has been amplified. The physical space of schools is where shared experiences happen, memories are created, connectedness and relationships are built, and meals are shared. When LEAs quickly pivoted to distance learning models, one of the reasons school staff found success was because of the existing relationships and connectedness built during the school year. Relationships and connectedness are at the core of our healthiest school communities. We know from experience and the science of learning and development that meaningful relationships are essential for students to grow as learners. The student/staff relationships are the foundation of students’ connectedness to the school community and learning. Staff to staff relationships provide the space for staff collaboration and growth. Student to student relationships allow peers to connect to each other and begin to understand diverse perspectives, helping them become more compassionate human beings. When schools are developing their reopening plans it is important to include a plan to ensure that the learning and the connected relationships developed while the school buildings were open can continue if another school building closure occurs. This is also an opportune time for schools that have previously closed for wildfires, other natural disasters, or public safety power shutdowns (PSPS) to include how learning and relationships will continue if those, or similar, disasters occur again.
Below are essential questions for consideration when developing continuity of relationships and learning plans.
Essential Questions for Consideration
- How will LEAs maintain relationships and connectedness when the physical school buildings are closed?
- How will the LEA continue some of the same practices, such as student announcements, even when the physical school buildings are closed?
- How will the LEA continue to provide opportunities for staff collaboration and professional learning?
- How will LEAs create a feedback loop about the experiences of students, staff, and families to inform their ongoing planning and communication?
- How will LEAs consider the diverse needs of all students and plan for common and differentiated social–emotional and academic supports?
- How will LEAs continue their community partnerships to amplify their efforts of continuity of relationships and learning?
- How are all of our relationships becoming more equitable and strengthening our community?