Online Policies and Working Remotely Guidelines
Thank you to all those who have been connecting with us over the past few days. We have received a number of requests for policies related to staff working from home and students working remotely and/or online. In this update, I will provide you with a few resources, which have been prepared by schools and shared as samples of what others are doing. The schools that have compiled these documents are happy for you to use and adapt them.
Please note: that all policies should be reviewed in light of individual state legislation, your current school policies and the individual school context.
Please also be careful: if you use another schools document to check that the correct school name and details are used throughout the document.
This is more than a search and replace activity as schools often:
shorten or abbreviate their name; refer to specific locations;
refer to specific online tools; or personnel to contact.
Staff Working from Home Policy
Schools will need to consider the changes in expectations for staff as they work offsite and from home. Schools should update/develop a remote working policy for all staff. Green Point Christian College (NSW) have provided advice to staff about working from home which covers the topics of:
- Preparing to work from home
- General requirements and responsibilities
- Supervisor responsibilities
- General WHS advice
- Child Protection when Working from home
- Setting up a Home workspace
- Emergency contacts
Staff Working Online Policy
Schools need to consider not only a change in location for staff, but also the differing expectations and conditions of an online environment. Hillcrest Christian College (Vic) have upscaled their Online Learning Policy for staff to correspond to the change brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sections covered in this policy include:
- Synchronous and asynchronous learning
- Online learning structures
- Staff Code of conduct in a synchronous environment and an asynchronous environment
- Expectations of parents
Guidelines for Students and Parents
Rather than produce a policy document, some schools are providing guidelines to parents and students to assist them in studying from home as well as, in the use of online and remote tools and resources. Flinders Christian Community College (Vic) have included in their guidelines:
- Daily Routines for each section of the school
- Tips for Parents and Carers (including copyright and privacy)
- Video conferencing
- Online Protocols for All Students
- Key Contacts
Staff and Families Pack
Finally, some schools, such as Mandurah Baptist College (WA) have provided guidance to both staff and families in the form of a pack, which can be viewed by CSA Members via the links below.
In addition to providing information and guidelines, they have also included appendices dedicated to topics most likely to be encountered in moving to an online/alternate education model.
The Mandurah Staff Pack includes sections dedicated to:
- Use of the LMS and other tools
- Assessment procedures
- Pastoral Care (student/parent/staff)
- Staff Responsibilities: Curriculum Delivery
- Staff Responsibilities: Online Safety
- Appendices dedicated to:
- Positions of Responsibility role expectations
- Codes of Conduct
- Example responses to parents
- Tips to Support Co-workers anxious about COVID-19
- Conducting oneself during a Video conference
- Working effectively from home
The Mandurah Parent Pack, which is also suitable for students to refer to, includes dedicated sections related to:
- Online Learning Model explanation
- Special requirements for Year 11 and 12 students
- Assessments, Communication, Pastoral care
- Learning Code of Conduct
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Online Learning Model
- Communication with school and teachers
- Pastoral Care (student/parent)
The following packs are used by Mueller College (QLD) for students in an online environment. Schools may find a range of topics useful in terms of communicating with parents and students. The layout of these documents are also of merit and worth consideration in terms of presenting information and content to the school community:
Pressure on Parents
Remember parents who are now taking responsibility for overseeing their children’s learning may find this a very stressful time. This YouTube clip was posted online and captures how many parents will feel. Please avoid feeling that you have to oversupply work for students to do at home.
Teachers can always change and alter what they are expecting to occur at home. What you might prepare for the last couple of weeks of term, will be different for when teachers are preparing to teach for a whole term. Provide high quality work in a small quantity rather than oversupply an abundance of busy work.
If the content being taught is complex, have staff run an online tutorial or better still post a webinar. Students can then re-watch the teaching again and again.
Essential Worker Provision
Where school closures have been mandated, schools may be required to provide onsite education for the children of essential workers, as well as vulnerable children. The list of essential services could be quite expansive and cover health and social care, education and childcare, key public services, local and national government, food and necessary goods, public safety and transport, utilities, communication and financial services.
Vulnerable students, include: children supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, protections plans, disabled children and those with education, health and care plans.
This is a considerable number of children and accordingly schools need to move away from thinking that school closure equals no students on site. Schools may be required to provide onsite education for these students and should plan accordingly. Additionally, such provisions may also apply to Early Learning Centres, Schools, Colleges (VET) and childcare providers (OSHC). Some schools in Australia provide all of these services and need consider now how they might continue operating under partial closure measures.
Resources you may have missed
Schools should already be moving to alternate education provision. To this end, CSA developed an Alternate Education Provision Framework to assist schools decide which approach is most suitable for theirschool and community. We strongly recommend that schools adopt more than one approach to cater for: home capacity, age of the student, the type of learning to be undertaken, etc.
Much of the material above speaks of Synchronous and Asynchronous learning. Check out this link, which may be helpful in explaining these concepts to staff and parents.
In terms of a synchronous approach, where certain learning takes place at specific times, check out this example here. This example is organised according to a structured timetable. It provides interactive links that takes the user to a range of resources stored on a Google Drive.
On the other hand, some schools are providing learning experiences for students to complete work according to their own individual schedules. Schools have asked what a teachers day may look like. An example of how a teacher may structure their day in an asynchronous environment can be found here.
Upcoming Zoom Meeting
CSA will hold its second Zoom meeting for Principals, Business Managers and Leaders on Wednesday, 25 March (3.30pm NSW & Victoria, 3pm SA, 2.30pm Qld and 12.30pm WA).
Members can find their meeting details to join in their email title “Resource Release”. Or contact us if you have any trouble.
Please be aware that we have now lifted our online capacity to 500. We welcome all parties to join the briefing. If you plan to join us, please leave your sound on mute.
If there are any specific questions you would like to have addressed, please send them to Mark Spencer or Daniel Pampuch ahead of time, otherwise make use of the chat function during the meeting.
Prayers and Support
We will continue to provide members with further resources and support as we move into this new educational environment. Executive Officers in each state are connecting with schools individually to ascertain needs and areas of concern.
Thank you to the generosity of those schools who have been sharing resources. Your support and assistance is highly valued and appreciated. Please send any resources directly to me if you believe they would be of benefit to the whole of the CSA community. I will endeavor to curate them and make them available in ongoing updates.
Please also reach out to CSA staff for any further support you may require. We are here to assist you in any way we can. Above all, take comfort in that: