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Remote Learning for the 2020-2021 School Year

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (DESE) Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance Download PDF Document outlines requirements and considerations for fall reopening plans with the goal of safely returning as many students as possible to in-person school settings to maximize learning and address students' holistic needs. In all reopening scenarios, remote learning will be necessary for students who will not be attending school in-person, as part of a hybrid learning model, and in case changing COVID-19 conditions require a shift to full remote learning as determined by local and state leaders.

Continuum of fall reopening models; Continuum with four boxes: return without restrictions, in-person learning with new safety requirements, hybrid learning, and remote learning.

This web page contains remote learning guidance and expectations, remote learning program models and supplemental information, and related resources.

Remote Learning Guidance for Districts and Schools

On August 31, 2020, DESE provided supplemental remote learning information and resources (Updated December 11, 2020) Download Word Document, which provides recommendations, resources, and examples for remote learning across three critical areas:

  1. High quality curriculum and instructional materials;
  2. Organizing student schedules for structured learning time; and
  3. Organizing educator time to maximize time with students

On July 24, 2020, DESE released official Remote Learning Guidance for Fall 2020 (Updated October 19, 2020) Download Word Document, which contains the following information:

  • Important information about policy requirements and related guidance for remote learning this fall,
  • Criteria for meeting foundational technology needs, and
  • Conditions and considerations for selecting an appropriate remote learning option for your school or district.

Additional guidance and resources related to remote learning for more specific areas can be found on the following pages:

State Partnerships for Remote Learning Course Content

Following the release of our Remote Learning Guidance for Fall 2020, DESE identified specific partners from which districts can purchase virtual courses or a learning management system, as described under options 4 and 5 of the remote learning guidance (pages 13 and 14).

The Department released an overview document Download Word Document (August 4, 2020) that identifies specific partners that are able to provide these services and includes cost and other information to support school and district decision-making about remote learning resources. Districts are strongly encouraged to review all the information carefully and to contact each partner directly to determine what will best meet the needs of the district's students and families.

The Department has also developed an FAQ document Download Word Document (August 28, 2020) and is pleased to announce free professional development Download Word Document for Massachusetts educators in districts that have chosen to partner with Edgenuity and FLVS Global to support remote learning for their students and families. Districts who have contracted directly with either partner can get registration information from them. Registration information for Edgenuity trainings will be available online on Monday, August 31. FLVS Global will be sending registration links for trainings by Monday, August 31 directly to the primary and technical contacts of districts who have executed contracts to partner with them.

Remote Learning Resources

Building Blocks of Equitable Remote Learning

Building Blocks of Equitable Remote Learning Logo
Learn Launch Logo

To support districts with preparing for remote learning needs, DESE is partnering with LearnLaunch to give district and school leaders access to a free and state-aligned planning framework: The Building Blocks of Equitable Remote Learning.

Set Priorities for Learning, Communicate Clearly, Prepare Educators, Ensure Equitable Access, Include Social-Enmotional Learning, Support Parents, Engage Learners, Plan for Special Education, Address Needs of English Learners, Select Aligned Tools

LearnLaunch is hosting a series of virtual workshops over the course of the summer and throughout the school year on these critical components of remote learning. Workshops feature content experts and are fully aligned with DESE's principles, priorities, standards, and reopening guidance.

Districts can learn more about and register for workshops by visiting The Building Blocks: Workshops.

Remote Learning Practice Profile

Download PDF Document
Download PDF Document
Relationship Mapping
Download Word Document
Simultaneous Instruction in Hybrid Models

T-Mobile Project 10Million

T-Mobile is offering free internet access and mobile hotspots to schools across the country. As part of Project 10Million, Massachusetts schools and districts will receive nearly 42,000 hotspots for the 2020-21 school year, each arriving with 100GB of data each year for 5 years. Districts and charter schools interested in participating can read more about the program and explore T-Mobile's coverage map Download PowerPoint File and ZIP code list Download Excel Document.

Disclosure Statement:

Reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Our office is not responsible for and does not in any way guarantee the accuracy of information in other sites accessible through links herein. For more information, contact: , 781-338-3529.

Staffing and Scheduling Considerations for Remote and Hybrid Learning

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DESE recently partnered with ERS to deliver a two-part webinar on how districts and schools can apply strategic scheduling and staffing models for hybrid and/or remote environments, understand and plan for the tradeoffs involved in those models, and explore model schedules and plans.

ERS presented tools, guiding principles, and sample schedules and staffing considerations curated specifically for remote and hybrid school models, which can be found on their website.

Remote Learning Resources for Educators

The Center for Instructional Support is offering resources and support tailored to educators who are preparing to deliver instruction remotely. You can find more information about these offerings, including additional guidance, content-specific webinars, and learning modules on DESE's Teaching and Learning During COVID-19 page.

Technology Support during Remote Learning

DESE has compiled a list of tech support resources to help families, educators, and administrators navigate their district's remote learning tools, support students' education at home and in the classroom, and engage in meaningful two-way communication. The Department is providing this information as a service and may revise or supplement the list from time to time. The list does not represent an endorsement or recommendation by the Department of any instructional resource, product, organization, corporation, or individual.

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
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Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.