Distance Learning

Adopted May 2021 — Education Commission

California State PTA believes that all students should have access to an equitable learning environment that promotes student success. In today’s world, there is an increasing likelihood that many students will experience distance learning for a variety of reasons. Distance learning is defined as an alternative to face-to-face instruction — whether out of necessity or by choice. Distance learning should meet standards for instructional quality and student learning that is comparable to classroom based instruction.

California State PTA believes that every local school and school district needs to have a current plan to provide distance learning in place that can be rolled out rapidly.  The plan should be reviewed annually with stakeholder input.

California State PTA believes that a high quality distance learning program should:

  • Provide all children and youth an equitable learning environment that fosters opportunities to develop their abilities to their fullest potential;
  • Ensure that students feel respected and know that the learning community cares about their individual needs and expects them to succeed;
  • Provide and sustain a safe and healthy learning environment for distance learning students that includes regular, ongoing assessments of students’ social-emotional, mental, and physical health, supported by additional resources and counselors as needed;
  • Incorporate social-emotional learning;
  • Ensure that every student has an equal chance for success by evaluating and addressing the unique challenges and barriers faced by individual students or by populations of students;
  • Provide the additional support needed to ensure that every child receives an equitable education whether in person or in distance learning; and
  • Identify students facing additional learning challenges due to distance learning. Recognize that distance learning students may require additional high-quality interventions such as individual tutoring, face-to-face instruction, social and emotional supports, extended school days and/or extended school years, and other supports as needed.

California State PTA believes that it is the responsibility of local education leaders to adjust operations, allocate resources, and actively engage families to ensure the quality and effectiveness of distance learning programs through such actions as:

  • Committing to provide educational support that works to close the achievement and opportunity gap for all students;
  • Investing in increased resources to support distance learning including access to devices, distance learning platforms and reliable, consistent and free internet connectivity and training to utilize this technology;
  • Meeting instructional quality and student learning standards, and provide curriculum and resources that are comparable to traditional classrooms;
  • Supporting a student’s awareness of racism, classism, discrimination and other issues in the world. Teaching students how to openly address these situations by ensuring that curriculum, teaching, and learning includes contributions from individuals of protected classes and reflects the story of all student populations.
  • Providing minimum amounts of interactive, live online instructional time based on developmentally appropriate pedagogy.
  • Ensuring active student engagement on a daily basis.
  • Encouraging and tracking student attendance on a daily basis.
  • Maintaining rigor and quality and ensuring proficient performance levels as assessed by accurate measurements;
  • Providing appropriate and ongoing professional development for teachers and staff;
  • Welcoming and encouraging families and community members to share ideas, talents and resources for supporting distance learning;
  • Providing families with resources to support their students in distance learning including but not limited to: tutorials on different education platforms, strategies to support and motivate students, and resources to support students with different learning needs; and
  • Including distance learning students in on-campus participation in athletics, on-campus student events and programs or other activities outside of the instructional day.


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