Offline Care for Hard-to-Reach Students

The students who aren't joining us online may be the ones who need us most. How can we reach out to them?

Though school districts are trying to get the needed technology to students who are not yet able to get online, let’s not forget that these are likely the kids who need our support and care the most. So until they’re able to get online, let’s think about what our outreach needs to look, sound, and feel like. Reaching out to these students, regularly, with patience and warmth, may be the lifeline that gets them through these next weeks and months.   

Below are some thoughts, but we’d love to hear from you about other ways that are working for you!  You can let us know using form at the bottom of this blog post.

Connect, connect, connect – use your phone and rely on your students

If students aren’t online, reaching out to them by phone, text, or through popular apps is another way to stay connected. Ask your students to help you figure out how best to be in touch with students who struggle to connect. Identify who is not able to make it to your virtual class or advisory group. Do you have contact information for everyone in your class? Are you forgetting about anyone? 

Put your heads together. How are we going to reach out to classmates to let them know they were missed?  Informing students of what they missed only becomes relevant after connecting with them and checking in. Consider creating an old-fashioned phone tree to get all students engaged.

See if there are creative ways to get students connected next time you meet. Brainstorm with your students: What do we need to hear from each other right now? How do we let others know we’re thinking of them, that they’re missed? How do we connect everyone? 

Add some care to packets going home

Think about how your students might be feeling at this time of uncertainty and upheaval.  They may have lost the one place in their life that has structure, food, and caring adults welcoming them: school.  A mere packet with their academic assignments at a time like this is likely to feel cold and uncaring. Think about what your kids may need, instead, to transition into this new reality. What might you say in a handwritten letter or card? 

Consider including a picture, image, or poem that might resonate, some self-care tips or a simple low-cost recipe.

Include a self-addressed and stamped envelope for them to write back should they wish to.


Please let us know about other ways in which you’re staying in touch with your students who are more difficult to connect with using the form below.

See our activities and lessons related to the coronavirus here.