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Remote Learning Guidance and Supports

Remote Learning Options for the 2021-22 School Year

CDE is developing guidance to extend flexibilities for brick-and-mortar schools to offer remote virtual learning opportunities for students next school year in response to public health and safety measures associated with COVID-19. This guidance is still being finalized. In the meantime, here are the key points to help schools and districts begin planning.

Schools/districts that want to offer both online remote learning and in-school learning, will be able to leverage this flexibility only if it's in response to public health and safety measures associated with COVID-19.

Flexibilities can be used for the following circumstances:

  • 100% remote learning - May be implemented by the district/school for families who do not want their student(s) to receive in-person learning for the duration of a term.
  • Hybrid learning - This option refers to traditional educational settings that are implementing a combination of both in-person and remote learning.
  • Temporary remote learning - Short term instances when students are quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure/illness, or shift to 100% remote learning as a result of an executive/public health order, or other types of locally-determined precautions related to COVID-19.

To use these flexibilities, schools/districts must ensure that a portion of all remote classes provide some synchronous learning experiences and that students have access to live teacher/instructional support every instructional day of the school calendar. Asynchronous tools/resources, including CDLS courses, can still be used but synchronous learning experiences and live teacher/instructional support must be part of the plan as well.

Finally, schools/districts must ensure they are adopting appropriate policies - and maintaining proper record keeping aligned to those policies - to meet October Count funding requirements.

Final guidance will be comprehensive and will outline requirements for schools. If you have any questions in the meantime, contact Renee Martinez with Office of Blended and Online Learning at

Note: This interim guidance is applicable to students in grades K-12. Guidance related to Pre-K students and remote learning is under development.

Remote Learning Options (K-12) for the 2021-2022 School Year as a Result of COVID-19 Health Concerns Guidance

Guidance for Districts & Schools Using Colorado Empowered Learning 

The Office of Blended and Online Learning, in collaboration with the Accountability Office and School Finance Unit, has recently published guidance related to use of Colorado Empowered Learning as a remote learning provider. The guidance provides information related to the three learning options offered by Colorado Empowered Learning along with considerations related to academic accountability, October count and funding considerations, and elementary grade level considerations.

Remote Learning 

"Remote learning” refers to teacher-pupil instruction and contact time that would normally occur in-person (onsite), but because of public health and safety measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, is occurring remotely (off-site) during the 2020-21 school year. An application was not required for remote learning provided as a response to COVID-19 for the 2020-21 school year. Although typically dependent on digital technologies for learning management and communications, remote learning is not limited to "online learning" only. Remote learning can occur in a variety of ways including, but not limited to:

  • On an “as needed” basis when in-person instruction is suspended due to outbreaks, governor’s executive order, etc. 
  • Includes situations where in-person instruction is temporarily suspended for an entire classroom, school, district, or individual student who is unable to attend in-person instruction due to illness, being required to quarantine, etc.
  • Simultaneously with in-person instruction at the student level (“hybrid learning”) and/or 
  • 100% of the time (i.e., fully virtual) when the district has provided the opportunity to families who, because of public health and safety measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, do not want their student(s) to receive in-person learning  

 Remote Learning Considerations

  • Districts may develop or modify existing curriculum for an online setting. 
  • Districts may use an outside provider.  
  • Districts may enroll students in an existing, approved online school or program.

Podcast Resource 

  • Remote Learning: Relationship and Engagement
    • In this podcast, listen to two veteran online school leaders share years of experience in a remote learning environment. Nicole Tiley and Sheila Stevens discuss topics that include fostering student engagement and maintaining school culture, staff engagement, communication strategies, and senior events such as prom and graduation. 

Guidance on Remote Learning Technology

As districts plan for the 2020-21 school year, remote learning opportunities may be considered. It is important to note that remote learning may take different forms and may or may not rely on digital technology. For purposes of this communication, consider remote learning on this technology spectrum:

Remote Learning and its Reliance on Technology

  Low Technology <-------------- --------------> High Technology
Examples Paper learning packets sent home and other hard copy resources distributed to students Digital learning with email communications and/or website Digital learning, such as course access, through a web-based Learning Management System (LMS) LMS with live instruction, breakout rooms for collaboration, etc.

The Department of Education does not have a position on what amount of technology schools and/or districts should use. Rather, this site is intended to provide general guidance for districts, schools, and families that are planning for technology-based remote learning. Within that framing, we recommend evaluating readiness for schools and districts that are planning for digital learning on six primary questions.

Device and Technology Needs:

1. What devices will students need to access this learning?'
2. What amount of time will students be online and does the plan line up with internet capacity needed?
3. Will a Learning Management System (LMS) be used to manage classes?

Teacher Supports for Digital Teaching

4. Are teachers prepared to continue course learning through a digital platform?
5. Do teachers have access to enough standards-aligned digital content?
6. Are teachers prepared (and do they have the resources) to evaluate student learning while learning remotely?
Based on these questions, we have included  general self-assessments for schools and districts to evaluate their readiness. We have also included a section called "Remote Learning Environments," with additional information for schools to consider in preparation for digital learning.

Self Assessment Tools & Resources

Materials are provided within the self-assessment for each particular question. We have included a quick listing of many of these resources below. 

Other Resources for Planning Online Learning