Department of Defense Education Activity

Virtual Option

DoDEA Educational Options for School Year 2021-22

virtual class

DoDEA is preparing to safely open schools in-person systemwide for school year (SY) 2021-22 as local health conditions permit. As the CDC has indicated, evidence suggests that many K-12 schools that have strictly implemented mitigation strategies have been able to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open. We believe that the best educational option for most students is attending school in-person.

Given the uncertainties of the ongoing pandemic, DoDEA recognizes that students and families with health vulnerabilities related to COVID-19 may still have concerns about returning to school. To support all students, DoDEA will continue to operate full-time in-person schools and also provide a full-time virtual learning option for grades K–12 students. Full-time virtual option enrollments will be limited to 2000 students systemwide. Parents that choose to enroll their students in the Virtual School option must agree to remain for the full school year. 

When will SY 2021-22 begin for the DoDEA Virtual School?

Students who are enrolled in the virtual option, regardless of location in the world, will follow the established DVS Calendar that begins for students on August 23, 2021.

Virtual School Teachers in Action


Full-Time Virtual Option Request Instructions

DoDEA will not have an additional virtual option request window for grades 1-12 after the April 7 deadline. The educational selection for students enrolling after the deadline is in-person. However, parents of students with health vulnerabilities may request student enrollment in the virtual option after they register through their brick and mortar DoDEA school. The DoDEA District Superintendent, in consultation with the Assistant Principal of DVS in the region, will approve or deny any additional enrollments into DVS for the full-time virtual option. Parents are committing their student(s) to be enrolled in DVS for the full school year. The option for full-time virtual learning is primarily for DoDEA families who have health vulnerabilities to COVID-19 or who are concerned about returning to in-person school. We understand that it will be a difficult decision for many to commit to the full school year in DVS, but it is critical for planning and staffing of DVS. It will also allow for the educational stability that is needed for teachers and students going into next school year. 

In addition, DoDEA eligibility requires that families with students in DVS be enrolled in a local DoDEA brick and mortar school and maintain eligibility for a DoDEA school. The student must reside within the geographical location of the brick and mortar DoDEA school to remain eligible for enrollment.

Parents will be notified in May of the status of their request for the virtual option for SY 2021-22. If all available spaces are filled, a wait list will be maintained and parents of the next student(s) in line will be notified as openings become available.

*DoDEA parents are required to annually re-register their student(s). To ensure eligibility for the virtual option for SY 2021-22, you will also need to re-register your student(s) through the DoDEA Online Registration for Students (DORS) Spring Re-registration portal. Your school will notify you when re-registration begins. You can submit your request for the virtual option for SY 2021-22 before DORS Spring Re-registration.

Questions?

If you have additional questions, please email the mailbox
for your region virtual school administration.

Special Ed Questions?

If you have questions related to special education please email the mailbox for your region special education team.

Making a Choice

Full-time In-Person School

student at desk with mask

Full-time Virtual Learning

Parents Helping Children With Homework

How do the two options compare?

*In-person instruction subject to change based on Department of Defense (DoD) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance.

  Full-Time In-Person Instruction Full-Time Virtual Instruction

Schedule

All grade levels, 5 days a week. Students will follow the posted calendar for each school.

Students will follow a weekly schedule and will be expected to submit all schoolwork on time. They will access course content asynchronously, under the supervision of a parent / guardian as appropriate. Students and parents can expect constructive feedback and synchronous support from teachers throughout the week.

Courses

All courses required by DoDEA will be available.

Some electives and programs may not be available given staffing limitations and potential risks.

1. Students in grades K-8 will be enrolled in math, language arts, social studies, science and one elective. Electives will include:

  • Grades K-3:  Art
  • Grades 4-5:  Physical Education
  • Grades 6-7:  CTE Option (TBD)
  • Grade 8:  Health Opportunities and Physical Education

2. Teachers will hold office hours each week with flexible times that accommodate student and parent needs.

3. Students in grades 9-12 will be enrolled in existing DVHS courses. They will work with counselors to select courses that best fit their needs.

4. Students with IEP /504 plans, including students who are English Learners, should work closely with their home schools to adapt or modify their IEP plans for the virtual option.

Food Services

Normal food services will be provided with modifications for social distancing and other pre-cautionary measures to ensure safety.

In the Americas, check with your local school to determine the availability of the school meal program. For students overseas in Europe and Pacific, meal service options are under development and more information will be forthcoming.

Transportation

Normal busing will occur and all students will be required to wear a mask.

Not applicable

Health Protocols

Staff will guide students on health and safety protocols, following CDC and DoD  guidelines. All staff and students must wear face coverings (as developmentally appropriate) in accordance with CDC and DoD guidelines. Schools will provide masks to students unable to provide their own. Six feet of social distancing will be maintained whenever possible.

Not applicable

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

Available on a limited basis depending on local HPCON levels. Available on a limited basis depending on local HPCON levels.

Grades K-5

Parents should consider:

  • Attention span of children.
  • Specials classes are limited.
  • Less social interactions and informal play.
  • 1:1 reading instruction may be less optimal in this setting.
  • IEP, 504, and ESL plans may need to be reviewed and updated for the virtual setting.
  • Time to sit with students for synchronous and asynchronous learning.
  • Parent must be available for a teacher conference weekly.

Grades 6-12

Parents should consider: 

  • Course availability may be limited for electives.
  • IEP, 504, and ESL plans may need to be reviewed and updated for the virtual setting.
  • Extra-curricular activities will be available on a limited basis depending on local HPCON levels.
  • High school students may need to take up to two summer school courses to stay on track to graduate.
  • Time to check with students daily on their progress and monitor asynchronous learning sessions.
  • Parent must be available for a teacher conference as needed.

Virtual Learning Parent Tips for Success

During this time of uncertainty, your outlook towards virtual learning is the most important thing. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude and your student will do the same.

What is the Home-Learning Balance?

As students adapt to online learning, parents are creating an environment for their children to learn from home. Students typically go to school so they can put everything aside and focus on learning. As those lines blur, it is important to create guidelines for students to learn from home. A home-learning balance is simply drawing the line between what is learning time and home time.

Create a Designated Learning Space

Wherever you decide to let your child set up shop, create a designated workspace at home. Associate that area with learning only for the time being. Consider adding items to the area that the student might need like a pencil case, calculator, and extra paper. Students should feel comfortable and have a sense of ownership to their home-learning space.

Choose a designated learning space that allows your child to feel a sense of ownership and empowerment when they sit down to learn. When children go to school, parents are able to feel secure that they are being supervised. Same goes for your home. Now that the parent role has turned into a combination of parent and teacher, the responsibility lies on parents to make sure they are engaged and learning. Once you choose your designated learning space, make sure your student feels comfortable learning there.

What You Will Need: Internet Access and Web Accessible Device

Remote learning has one major requirement: internet access. If you do not have internet access, please make sure you communicate with your home school administrators to check out hotspots. Each student will need access to a computer or laptop. If you need a devise you can reach out to the school to check one out for use.

Parent Roles and Responsibilities

Minimize Distractions: It is inevitable that your student will get distracted while at home. What we do as parents is prepare for distractions before they happen. Practice the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. If your student is having trouble focusing due to other distractions in the house, try noise cancelling headphones or moving their learning space to a quieter area. Take it day by day, if something isn’t working, try something new.

Set a Schedule: Students are used to being on school schedules so try to keep their schedule the same at home. There are pillars in the school day that you can mimic at home. Things like start-time, lunch, recess, and end times are good starting points for setting a schedule. Talk with your teacher about learning times and how they typically set the student’s day. Having consistency in the schedule will instill your student with a sense of comfort. Let them know that this is how it is going to be for a little while but learning at home can be just as fun as learning in school.

Communicate: Communication is key when it comes to remote learning. Make sure to keep open lines of communication with both your child and their teacher. Provide feedback when appropriate.

Check-In: Actively check-in with your child on their progress both educationally and mentally. This can be a difficult scenario for students who are used to being in social settings. Make sure that your student feels empowered and comfortable at all times. See how their day is going and help them keep on track with their assignments. Most teachers will give you a due date schedule to manage at home assignments. If your student is falling behind or struggling, make sure to keep open lines of communication with your teacher and administrator – you are all on the same team. 

Common Questions About the Virtual Option

DoDEA recognizes that students and families with health vulnerabilities related to COVID-19 may still have concerns about returning to school. The full-time virtual option is designed to provide those families with an alternate educational option during this time. The model is constant throughout the school year regardless of changes to public health conditions. Families choosing this option recognize and accept that their children will not have regular in-person interactions with teachers and peers. Rather, they will engage in interactive lessons online. According to its design, this model is intended to be a full-year commitment.

  • Students in grades K-6 will be enrolled in five courses: mathematics, English/language arts, science, social studies and one elective. (6th and 7th grades: CTE Course: Semester 1 – Coding Fundamentals and Semester 2 – Introduction to Game Design; 8th grade: Health Opportunities and Physical Education). DoDEA procured courses from Florida Virtual School (FLVS) are aligned to the DoDEA Standards and include syllabi and assignment schedules for each course. The course content is online through Schoology and a packet of learning materials will be provided to students in grades K-5.
  • Students in grades 7-12 in the virtual option for SY 2021-22 will work with their local brick and mortar school counselor to register for courses starting May 3, 2021. 

To the extent possible, elementary and middle school students will be served by dedicated DoDEA teachers in a cohort model with other students from their school, or their geographic region. Courses will be taught using online courseware and digital curriculum resources along with synchronous direct instruction and support from an online DoDEA teacher.

Make sure you have a designated workspace at home for your student. Associate that area with learning only for the time being. Consider adding items to the area that the student might need like a pencil case, calculator, and extra paper. Students should feel comfortable and have a sense of ownership to their home-learning space. Choose a designated learning space that allows your child to feel a sense of ownership and empowerment when they sit down to learn! When children go to school, we as parents are able to feel secure that they are being supervised. Same goes for your home. Now that our parent role has turned into a combination of parent and teacher, the responsibility lies on us to make sure they are engaged and learning. Once you choose your designated learning space, make sure your student feels comfortable learning there!

Families of full-time online students should be prepared to support their children’s active participation in all online learning activities. They will need to ensure their children have adequate space, materials, and technology access for their daily online instruction, requesting school assistance to provide a laptop and internet service, as needed. Student and parent should work together to create a daily schedule based upon courses, synchronous teacher sessions, scheduled meetings, and regular breaks.  Families will need to work with school staff to arrange for their children to participate in standardized assessments and other mandated educational activities. Families should recognize that full-time online instruction may not be able to support some specialized programs and course offerings that would otherwise be available to enhance student options and experiences.

Parents will be notified in May of the status of their request for the virtual option for SY 2021-22. If all available spaces are filled, a wait list will be maintained and parents next in line will be notified as openings become available. 

To make a request to enroll in DVS, please visit the Aspen Parent Portal during the following time period:

  • March 23, 2021 @ 700 EST – April 7, 2021 @ 1900 PM EST  

The new school year begins on August 23, 2021 for students in DVS, regardless of when the local start date is for students that are attending in-person instruction. 

Minimize Distractions: It is inevitable that your student will get distracted while at home. What we do as parents is prepare for distractions before they happen. Practice the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. If your student is having trouble focusing due to other distractions in the house, try noise cancelling headphones or moving their learning space to a quieter area. Take it day by day, if something isn’t working, try something new!

Set a Schedule: Students are used to being on school schedules so try to keep their schedule the same at home! There are pillars in the school day that you can mimic at home. Things like start-time, lunch, recess, and end times are good starting points for setting a schedule. Talk with your teacher about learning times and how they typically set the student’s day. Having consistency in the schedule will instill your student with a sense of comfort. Let them know that this is how it is going to be for a little while but learning at home can be just as fun as learning in school!

Communicate: Communication is key when it comes to remote learning. Make sure to keep open lines of communication with both your child and their teacher. Try keeping open lines of communication with your students’ teachers and give them feedback.

Check-In: Actively check-in with your child on their progress both educationally and mentally. This can be a difficult scenario for students who are used to being in social settings. Make sure that your student feels empowered and comfortable at all times. See how their day is going and help them keep on track with their assignments! Most teachers will give you a due date schedule to manage at home assignments. If your student is falling behind or struggling, make sure to keep open lines of communication with your teacher and administrator – you are all on the same team!

As students adapt to online learning, parents are creating an environment for their children to learn from home. Students typically go to school so they can put everything aside and focus on learning. As those lines can blur with virtual learning, it is important to create guidelines for students to learn from home. A home-learning balance is simply drawing the line between what is learning time and home time.

No, DoDEA will not be offering a virtual learning option for Pre-K students. Virtual preschool does not provide the social and relational interactions that are essential to children’s later development. While technology can be used to enhance or scaffold learning, full time virtual preschool is not a best practice.

During the DoDEA virtual option request window (March 23-April 7), parents may request to enroll their current DoDEA pre-kindergarten student in the Aspen Parent Portal, similar to the request process for all other current students. For rising kindergartners who are not currently enrolled in a DoDEA pre-kindergarten program, there will be a second request window for the virtual option in August 2021 for you to request enrollment, if space remains available.  

DoDEA will not have an additional virtual option request window for grades 1-12 after the April 7 deadline. The educational selection for students enrolling after the deadline is in-person. However, parents of students with health vulnerabilities may request student enrollment in the virtual option after they register through their brick and mortar DoDEA school. The DoDEA District Superintendent, in consultation with the Assistant Principal of DVS in the region, will approve or deny any additional enrollments into DVS for the full-time virtual option. 

For students seeking instruction from the DVS who are, or may be, eligible for a 504 Accommodation Plan, the 504 Accommodation Team of the student’s normally assigned brick and mortar school will convene to develop (or modify) the student’s 504 Accommodation Plan. The 504 Coordinator of the brick and mortar school will remain the case manager for students who have a 504 Accommodation Plan and are enrolled in DVS. The 504 Coordinator of the brick and mortar school, in close collaboration with the DVS, will monitor the student’s progress and meet with the teachers as needed. The 504 Accommodation Team will follow the policies and procedures outlined in DoDEA Administrative Instruction 2500.14 and will work with the DVS to provide the virtual and/or physical accommodations necessary for a student with a disability to have access to DoDEA educational programs and services.

For students who receive special education services, the DVS provides specially designed instruction utilizing special education teachers and related service providers. The DVS special education teachers will provide specialized instruction, consultation, and accommodations, as needed, to students with individualized education programs (IEPs) in order to access the general education curriculum while addressing targeted goals. While the DVS does not offer separate special education classes as a replacement to any general education course, the DVS special education teacher will provide synchronous special education services. These services may include direct or small group instruction that does not replace the general education curriculum. Each student is responsible for completing asynchronous sessions, submitting assignments, and attending synchronous sessions with the student’s general education teacher, SPED teacher, or related service provider.

Students in grades K-5 continue to receive the appropriate level of services provided by the school-based AAPS-RT in collaboration with the Virtual School grade level teacher. Students in grades 6-12 may continue to receive the appropriate differentiated services and accelerated course options if those options are available in the virtual school.

Parents of students whose first language is not English and who are identified as in need of ESOL services will receive these services from a certified ESOL teacher assigned to the DVS. DVS ESOL teachers provide support according to the level of English language proficiency of each student. The supports provided by DVS ESOL teachers will vary in frequency according to each student's English language learning needs. DVS ESOL teachers will also provide support by reinforcing for their students’ age and grade-level appropriate language and academic concepts. DVS ESOL teachers may monitor and work remotely with students individually or in small groups. DVS ESOL teachers will also work with their brick and mortar counterparts to identify students who are in need of ESOL services, and to assess how the students are making progress towards proficiency. ESOL teachers will recommend linguistic accommodations to DVS grade level classroom teachers (elementary) and/or content area teachers (high school). Parents will receive communications regarding DVS ESOL services in multiple ways, to include; directly from the DVS ESOL Teacher, the DVS Principal or Designee, and through announcements at the DVS Website. Parents who have questions regarding ESOL services should first contact their DVS ESOL teacher. Some helpful student and parent resources for English and academic language development include:

No, JROTC will not be offered by the DoDEA Virtual School. JROTC will be offered for in-person instruction.

The DVS Virtual Option is operating as an extension to the brick and mortar school due to the pandemic. Families that PCS to a location without a DoDEA school are not eligible to remain enrolled in DoDEA schools, including the DVS. DoDEA is committed to facilitating transition support. If you need assistance please contact the school liaison. You can search a listing of school liaison contacts worldwide. Families can also contact  for support.

Yes, if the student is eligible for the DoDEA school at your new location. You must notify the registrar at your current DoDEA brick and mortar school and register your child at the new DoDEA school. The registrars will coordinate the transfer of your student’s records.  You will also want to coordinate with your child’s teachers and the virtual school administration.

The virtual school instructional model differs from the remote learning. The virtual model does not attempt to replicate the face-to-face classroom; the virtual model provides a fully developed curriculum with teacher support.

K-5: Teachers have daily synchronous sessions at various times during the day. These sessions are recorded for students who are unable to attend. Please note there is no bell schedule in this environment. Teachers also offer daily office hours to meet with students and parents.

6-8: Teachers have sessions throughout the week based on student need. Please note there is no bell schedule in this environment. Teachers also offer daily office hours to meet with students and parents.

9-12: Teachers have office hours in each time zone for students to ask questions. Depending on the student, teachers may offer small group instruction. In this environment they work mostly one on one based on student need. The model is asynchronous instruction with synchronous support. Please note there is no bell schedule in this environment.

Technology for the Virtual Learning Option

If families and students do not have an adequate laptop or computer at home, students may request to check out a laptop from their local school.

Students will have to have access to a computer to use the DoDEA Learning Management System, Schoology. Students will not be able to use a phone or tablet to fully access the materials of the course.

As with laptops, families and students may request and check out a hotspot from their local school.