Lesson Plan: What strategies should schools use when reopening?

The Question of Schools Reopening in the Fall

Dr. William Schaffner, preventative medicine and infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University responded to a clip of President Trump talking about reopening schools in the fall. He explained what is known about the impact of COVID-19 on children and the spread of the virus.


With the outbreak of COVID-19, schools across the United States closed their doors and shifted to distance learning. As schools prepare plans for possibly reopening, leaders at the local, state and national levels must weigh public health concerns with the educational needs of students and families. In this lesson, students will hear from public health professionals, elected officials, and education policy experts. Students will look at the challenges that schools face when reopening and develop strategies for schools to use as they reopen.


  • WARM-UP:

    To begin class, have the students respond to the following warm-up question. This can be individually or through a discussion board assignment.

    • In what ways has school and learning changed since the outbreak of COVID-19?

    To begin class, the students will view the following view clips to understand the possible benefits and challenges for schools reopening. They should use the handout to list these benefits and challenges. This background information will help them later as they explore ways of reopening schools.

    Handout: Reopening Schools (Google Doc)


    After reviewing the benefits and challenges of reopening schools with the students and addressing any misconceptions, have the students use the handout to brainstorm and list strategies that schools can use when they reopen.


    After brainstorming their ideas, students will view clips of education experts, elected officials and public health experts talking about reopening schools during the coronavirus outbreak. Students will use the handout to take notes on concerns and possible solutions for reopening schools. They will use these notes and the list from brainstorming to develop strategies that their school can implement when reopening.

    Handout: Reopening Schools (Google Doc)


    Using their notes on the handout and their brainstorm list, the students will respond to the following prompt:

    Describe three specific strategies that schools should use when reopening. For each explain the possible costs and benefits, and why it would be effective.

    Teachers can choose to have students address this prompt using the following options:

    • Written essay

    • Letter to a school board member

    • Short video

    • Infographic or poster

    Online Discussion Board- Using the same prompt listed above, have the students write a post explaining their strategies. They should explain the costs/benefits and why each strategy would be effective. Once students have posted their strategies, each student should respond to at least three other students’ posts and explain why they agree or disagree with their strategies. They should use examples and information from the videos when they respond.

    Survey- Develop a five-question online survey about what strategies should be used when reopening schools. Distribute the survey to students, parents and/or teachers. Once you have collected your results, analyze your data and summarize your findings.

    Research Your School District- Using your school district or school’s website, research what plans your school district has for reopening school. Once you have researched the plan, answer the following questions:

    • Summarize the plans/options they are considering.

    • How might this impact you?

    • What are your thoughts on these plans/options?

Additional Resources


  • Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
  • Child Care
  • Community Spread
  • Coronavirus
  • Covid-19
  • Deleterious Consequences
  • Distance Learning
  • F E R P A
  • Fever
  • H I P P A
  • Homogeneous
  • Infectious Disease
  • Influenza
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Privacy
  • Protocol
  • Resistant
  • Resurgence
  • Rural Communities
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Distancing
  • Surveillance
  • Symptoms
  • Transmission
  • Vaccine




High School