Continuity of Learning

Distance & Hybrid Learning Playbooks to Support California LEAs

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this resource for?

It is for administrators in small- and medium-sized California districts or other resource-constrained LEAs looking to support their students, teachers, and communities to transition to hybrid or distance learning.

Is this the same as the state’s guidance on distance learning and pandemic response?

This playbook is a supplement and support to districts as they translate the California Department of Education guidance into action. It does not constitute formal legal or administrative guidance. CDE guidance, including grading and graduation requirements, and your own county and district policies should guide you in determining whether and how to use the recommendations and resources offered here.

Why do I need these playbooks?

Translating the broad benefits of school—including the community, social connections, emotional support, academics, and enrichment it provides—into a new model of teaching and learning is no easy task. Doing so while taking into account the diverse learning needs, language, and living situations of students across your district is even more complex.

What about information that is not in these playbooks?

These playbooks focus on teaching and learning. We understand that you may also need help with budgets, facilities, and general safety, just to name a few other topics. We will update this resource with tools as they become available.

What if not all my students have a device or access to the internet?

These playbooks are designed to help you think through your options, which may include digital or online learning, paper-based packets, audio resources, or some combination thereof. The most important first step will be figuring out how to be in touch with every child and family, whether by phone, mail, or online—and continuing to stay connected as you plan for the future, including working through equity and access challenges.

How can I serve children who are English Learners?

Building on best practice guidance for English Learners and supporting students’ language development, these playbooks offer resources for supporting English Learners throughout, as well as some links to other resources specific to this population.

How can I serve children who have disabilities?

Building on official guidance, these playbooks offer resources for supporting special education students throughout.

What if I already have a distance learning plan? Is this playbook relevant for me?

We understand that districts and schools are likely at different stages in their transitions to distance or hybrid learning. This first version of these playbooks is intended to be a guide for those in the early stages and a benchmark for others that are farther along. In the coming weeks, we may continue to add content to support schools and districts.

What is most important to remember as I design my continuity of learning plan?

Each playbook covers the following ideas in detail, but we want to remind you of them here:

  1. Put relationships and well-being for students and adults first.
  2. Don’t underestimate the degree to which this will require new ways of thinking, learning, and collaborating.
  3. Go slow to go fast when planning over the summer. Gather input and be careful not to steamroll your community and team.
  4. Create positive culture through consistent routines, school practices, and rituals that can foster a sense of connection and regular contact between teachers and students.
  5. Build momentum around learning gains by balancing acceleration and working with students at their learning levels, while also keeping an eye on grade-level content.
  6. Leverage new approaches; adopt a flexible mindset to embrace creative ways to meet students’ needs and build team capacity.
  7. Be responsive to individual and community needs by adjusting your plans and programming flexibly.
  8. Focus on literacy throughout your community and ways to promote it through all modes of learning (remote, hybrid, and beyond). Give all teachers, students, and parents a way to come together (including in their home languages).
  9. Remember that you are not alone and that you can learn from others.

Why is there no equity section in this playbook?

As educators, parents, and leaders, we felt it was important to highlight equity considerations in each section rather than make it a standalone, add-on item, as equity should underlie all that we do. 


If you want to see equity-related recommendations at a glance, you can look at this table


If you’re looking to dive deeper into this work, our colleagues at Pivot and Unbound Ed have developed a great Equity Toolkit with some ready-to-use surveys and tools. And the great folks at SDCOE offer these additional guides on supporting particular subgroups of students: 

Who created and contributed to this playbook?

These playbooks were written and developed by Copernicus Solutions, a consultancy for education and nonprofits, on behalf of the CCEE and with support from the Riverside County Office of Education and the San Diego County Office of Education. They adapt from and build on the original distance learning playbook created by Entangled Solutions with support from Silver Giving Foundation and Silicon Schools Fund. The content for the playbooks is informed by: our review of CDE guidance, as well as guidance and research from AAP, AEI, AFTCatalyst Ed, CCSSO,  the CDC, CRPE, Harvard, Opportunity Labs, UNICEF, and others; the insights and expertise of dozens of school/district leaders and subject matter experts in K-12 education, to whom we are deeply grateful; and resources from other consulting teams like Entangled Solutions, Education First, TNTP, Instruction Partners, and many others. These playbooks do not constitute legal or administrative guidance; CDE guidance and your own county and district policies should help you determine whether and how to use the resources offered here.


We would like to thank Grace Alvarez, Fabiola Bagula, Ken Berrick, Jeanette Chien, Elise Darwish, Chase Davenport, Tom Davis, Allison Carter, Nancy Brownel, Tommy Chang, Holly Edds, Mindy Fattig, Juliana Finegan, Edwin Gomez, Carrie Goux, Joshua Heideman, Michael Horn, Magaly Lavadenz, JoDee Marcellin, Lisa McIntyre-Hite, Toshia Mears, Bob Mueller, Pedro Noguera, Courtney Ochi, Tina Ochoa, Sam Olivieri, Michelle Parker, Jennifer Peck, Mickey Porter, Glen Price, Michelle Rainey, Arun Ramanathan, Rachel Roberson, Anissa Sonnenberg, Susan Tandberg, Almetria Vaba, Conor Williams, Bob Wisel, Cynthia Woods and Alison Yoshimoto-Towery.

The Continuity of Learning Playbooks
The Continuity of Learning Playbooks were developed in collaboration with our county
office of educations, local educational agencies, and other technical assistance partners, including: