COVID Glossary

Visit our COVID-19 homepage for additional topics.

There are some terms parents may need to know when making decisions about what returning to school looks like for their child with an IEP. 

ASYNCHRONOUS – means “not at the same time”. Asynchronous learning occurs at different times and in individual spaces. In asynchronous learning, instructors usually set up a learning path, which students follow at their own pace or on their own schedule. The opposite is synchronous- at the same time. 

COHORTING – A strategy that schools may use to limit contact between students and staff. These strategies work by keeping groups of students together over the course of the day. Ideally, the students and staff within a cohort will only be in close physical proximity with others in the same cohort.

CONTINGENCY LEARNING PLAN – For each student with an IEP, the state recommends IEP teams create a contingency learning plan to explain the special education and related services the district will provide during time away from school. This plan is individualized, based on the current IEP, and makes sure the student can access the education being offered by their district. Districts must develop the plan in collaboration and in agreement with parents because parents are part of the IEP Team. 

CONTINUITY OF LEARNING PLAN – Each district developed a continuity of learning plan to finish out the 2020 school year. This plan explained how the district provided instruction for all students (including those with IEPs). This could have been paper packet pickup, phone calls, online classes, or a combination of methods.

DISTANCE LEARNING – Might be called distance education, cloud, e-learning, virtual learning – A form of education that includes physical separation of teachers and students during instruction and the use of various technologies to facilitate student-teacher communication

DISTRICT OF RESIDENCE – The school district you live in. 

FOREGONE LEARNING – Foregone learning is the learning which could have occurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic. All students experienced foregone learning when school shut down in March 2020. Foregone Learning Resources

HOMESCHOOL –  Parents have total responsibility for their child’s education (curriculum, grades, diplomas). More on Homeschool

HYBRID LEARNING – A mix of in-person and virtual learning

IN-PERSON – Students learn face to face in the school building

SCHOOL OF CHOICE – Michigan’s school of choice program provides parents the opportunity to move their child from one school to another within the boundaries of the school district or allow non-resident students to enroll in another district. Each local school district decides whether or not it will participate in schools of choice. Contact the school directly for  local policy and timelines. More on School of Choice

SYNCHRONOUS – means “at the same time”. Synchronous learning means students and teachers are learning in the same place, at the same time. This covers in-person classes and live online meetings when the whole class/group meets at the same time. The opposite is asynchronous- not at the same time.


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