As coronavirus cases progress, schools are bracing themselves to potentially shut down for long periods of time. We are committed to helping communities affected by school closures in all the ways we can.
One way we can help affected parents is by ensuring there are enough classes available at the times they need. We have seen increased traffic from around the world as parents search for classes in the coming weeks. We wanted to reach out to ask for your help scheduling.
Times and timezones
Most recently, we’ve seen much of this new demand coming from areas outside of North America - specifically parts of Asia and Europe. As a result, we need more classes offered across all days in the early morning (9:00 AM PST or earlier) or late afternoon and evening (4:00 PM PST or later). You can use an online time converter to compare different time zones.
As the situation continues to develop, it’s difficult for us to anticipate exactly which times will be in demand - many families’ contingency plans may come into play at the last minute. If you schedule sections for any time you have available over the next few weeks, you can help families discover classes and activities in a timely manner.
It’s a bit early for us to tell which class formats might work best. We have a hypothesis that one-time, ongoing, and short courses could be most helpful since many new parents are testing the platform out and are unsure of their future schedules. Many of the new sign-ups are users who are unfamiliar with Outschool and just checking us out, so we don’t have data on what exactly they want.
So far, we have seen English, science and nature, and arts as popular topics. Since the situation is still developing, this is subject to change. We would also recommend aiming to offer some fun classes! This can potentially be a difficult or stressful time for kids, so they may enjoy a class that helps take their mind off being stuck at home.
For specific ideas, we’ve taken the list of topic requests that we send out each Sunday and added the browser timezone for the user associated with each request. Check the first tab for a list of requests and timezones and the second tab for a timezone comparison tool.
Looking for other ways to help?
- Share this info. Outschool has unique expertise that can help schools prepare for unexpected closures. We want to help schools and will do it for free. Read more here.
- Offer online teaching tips. As an online teacher, you have the unique skills and know-how to help brick and mortar teachers transition to “teleinstruction.” Reach out to your community to give tips about teaching online, and help them keep teaching even if schools are closed.
- Invite new teachers. If you know someone who could be a great Outschool teacher, please let them know. We are trying to cover a variety of timezones. Teachers who are residents of the U.S. or Canada but are traveling may still be eligible for background checks.
- Let us know how you can help. Are you interested in helping with webinars or other online resources? Do you have other suggestions? Let us know here.
Health and safety are our priorities. If you or your family encounters any health issues during this time, we’re here for you. Let us know, and we’ll work with you to make any necessary changes to your schedule. You can also read more about our extenuating circumstances policies here.
Thank you so much for your help.