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Implementing Emergency Online Schools on the Fly as a Means of Responding to School Closures after Disaster Strikes

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Journal of Educational Technology Systems Volume 45, Number 2, ISSN 0047-2395


One means of sustaining school operations when a disaster makes school buildings inaccessible or inoperable for an extended period of time is to use online and other communication technology to temporarily provide online schooling, also known as emergency online schools. However, the current literature on emergency online schools suggests that fully functioning emergency online schools are possible only through thoughtful planning and development before a disaster strikes. As a result, this article addresses the prospect of rapid development of emergency online schools in situations when schools are closed or inaccessible for a long period of time due to a disaster or other emergency, and there is no emergency online or other alternative school plan currently in place. We posit herein that although a fully functioning emergency online school is likely possible only through thoughtful planning and development, some of the key virtues of emergency online schools are, nevertheless, attainable after a disaster or other emergency necessitates complete school closure. We offer a plan for "rapid" establishment of an emergency online school as a "response" to a disaster "after" a disaster has happened and when complete school closure or inaccessibility was not anticipated as part of the current school crisis response plan and a comprehensive emergency online school plan is not yet established. This article first outlines the resources necessary for rapid creation of emergency online schools then follows with an approach to rapidly instituting emergency online schools as a response after disaster strikes.


Rush, S.C., Partridge, A. & Wheeler, J. (2016). Implementing Emergency Online Schools on the Fly as a Means of Responding to School Closures after Disaster Strikes. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 45(2), 188-201. Retrieved January 24, 2020 from .

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