ACLS H1N1 Guidance- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

ACLS H1N1 Guidance

January 8, 2010

Dear Program Directors,

This memo is in response to requests from several programs for guidance in responding to the H1N1 influenza outbreak.

Local programs are advised to follow local policies for cancellation and closing, as they would for weather-related cancellation. In other words, programs in public school settings would be expected to close when the school closes; programs in other public buildings would close as the city or town directs. Community-based organizations not affiliated with a larger entity are advised to assess the facility for signs of influenza and its extent, and to exercise their best judgment as to when public safety is best served by closing vs. remaining open. We always appreciate it when you let your program specialist know what's happening.

I know that you are naturally concerned about the interruption to learning that occurs, whether a single student is out sick or an entire program cancels classes for a period of time. ACLS staff often learn about strategies that programs use to support students when they miss class time, and help them to stay engaged. Here are some promising practices we have seen:

  • Some programs assign a "buddies"; when a student is absent, the "buddy" is responsible for gathering handouts and communicating by telephone. (This is generally an optional practice, since not everyone is willing to share their phone numbers with other students.)
  • Some provide students with a volunteer when they return from an absence, to go over material that was covered in classes the student missed.

  • Some teachers use email to communicate with absent students about assignments that can be done outside of the classroom, and some offer to meet with students before or after class.

  • Some programs have set up a website where teachers post weekly assignments, and students can log-onto check what they missed.

I hope that your staff and students remain healthy this winter, but if you do experience some absences, you may find some of these practices helpful.


With Literacy in Mind,

Anne Serino

State Adult Education Director

Last Updated: January 8, 2010

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