Questions to Ask About Potential School Closures

As the COVID-19 continues spreading, parents and students may question how to protect their well-being, as well as plan for the continuity of their education, especially as U.S. Health Officials and regional public health directors offer new guidance to school administrators and college officials every day regarding the coronavirus.  

School closures and the transfer of learning from classrooms to the internet, remote or distance learning, is one scenario to consider. (See our recent blog post for details.) Already, as of Saturday, March 7, multiple school districts have temporarily closed in Washington, as well as Lowell High School in San Francisco, when students or parents have been confirmed to contract COVID-19 or be exposed to the virus. Additionally, University of Washington, Seattle University, Northeastern University’s Seattle Satellite Campus and Stanford University have suspended in-person classes through the end of winter quarter.


Asking school administrators and reviewing district websites for details about their contingency plans in case of school closures can help parents plan appropriately.

  • Will the school year be extended in what’s traditionally the summer break? 
  • How will school administrators, teachers, and counselors communicate with students and their parents while school is closed? 


Parents and students can ask pointed questions of their school administrators about how classes will continue, should school be closed. Questions can include: 

  • Have teachers been trained for using online teaching platforms? 
  • Will the online courses also satisfy college admissions requirements? 
  • What courses can not be taken online, like science, lab-based courses? 


Faculty, staff and students can all be equally affected by contracting COVID-19. So, asking questions about how extended absences will be mitigated is important to understand the potential affects for a student’s education and eventual college admissions. 

  • If in the unfortunate case that a student is infected with COVID-19, how will a school district excuse the absences and grant leniency about making up missed work? 
  • If a teacher or administrator must be absent to care for a family member or to tend to their own health, who is available to ensure continuity for classes and school operations? 


Since academic grades are necssary for meeting high school graduation requirements and applying to college, ask questions to understanding how grades may be affected by a school closure.

  • If classes continue online or through other distance learning methods, how will students grades be awarded given the current semester is already underway? 
  • What is the process to ensure grades will satisfy high school graduation and college admissions course requirements


Lastly, beginning to plan now, parents can address their kid’s possible concerns about the virus. Frank discussions can be complicated, yet can also create a peace of mind knowing that a strategy is developed for potential developments.

We are continuing to monitor how schools and students may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as well as seeking understanding how a continuity of education will be established. Check back on our blog for frequent updates or contact us at to answer specific questions for your family.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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