Back-to-school season looks very different this year, as districts adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting new policies and procedures. Many localities have turned to virtual or hybrid models of teaching, requiring teachers to learn new ways of engaging with children and, perhaps just as importantly, children’s families. Effective interactions, such as those described by the CLASS® tool, are at the core of teaching, and these same interactions can be a model for productive relationships with children’s families.

While establishing a relationship with families is important every year, it is particularly important when instruction is virtual, as teachers lose the natural daily opportunities to interact with families presented by drop-off and pick-up and, at the same time, families become essential to helping children access instruction. Younger children may need assistance getting online and organizing their work, while older children may need help structuring their virtual school day.

This document uses CLASS principles of effective interactions to provide suggestions about ways teachers can help families support their children’s education when some or all instruction is virtual.

Download Family Support Strategies

We hope this information is helpful as you work to form meaningful connections with families this year, but we recognize that circumstances differ across the education landscape. Please use the CLASS Learning Community as a way to get feedback and dialogue with others about their approaches in this unprecedented time. If you have thoughts you’d like to share, or would like to consult with us directly, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at

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