COVID-19 Response and Updates
WIDA’s Response to COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, WIDA is taking measures to maintain service to our educators in a safe and practical way. WIDA is working with each of the 40 member states, territories and federal agencies of our domestic consortium to determine their specific plans relative to screening (including temporary remote alternatives) and assessment. WIDA also continues to work with WIDA Early Years member states and WIDA International School Consortium members to continue to best serve these communities.
WIDA remains committed to supporting educators, multilingual children and their families during this difficult time, and always. The following includes the latest updates on WIDA’s response to COVID-19 as well as resources for the WIDA community.
Updated July 13
- WIDA Travel: WIDA has cancelled travel through 2020 and continues to work remotely. As part of UW-Madison, WIDA is following the guidance put together by the university in their “Smart Restart” plan for returning to campus.
- WIDA Annual Conference: Recently, WIDA made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person 2020 WIDA Annual Conference in response to the impact of COVID-19. WIDA explored several options to hold the conference virtually, but has ultimately decided not to move forward with a virtual WIDA Annual Conference due to the uncertainty around the upcoming school year. Save the date for the 2021 WIDA Annual Conference planned for October 26-29, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.
- WIDA ELD Standards: WIDA is finalizing development of the WIDA ELD Standards, 2020 Edition. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on schools and communities around the world, WIDA is reviewing the timeline for the release of the 2020 Edition.
- WIDA Social Media: WIDA is using Twitter and Facebook as a place to connect with the WIDA community. New WIDA Facebook groups have been established for educators to connect and share resources: the WIDA Educator Exchange and Supporting Success for Multilingual Learners with Disabilities.
Tips for Parents and Families
- To help educators promote the importance of home language with the students and families they serve, WIDA has developed a visual resource in English, Spanish, Arabic and Simplified Chinese.
- To support families with young children at home, WIDA Early Years is happy to share free, downloadable activity booklets, in English, Spanish, Arabic and Simplified Chinese that are appropriate for young children ages 2-7 years.
- Director of WIDA Early Years Lorena Mancilla provides parents and guardians with guidance on working at home with a young child in the following articles:
Educator Connection and Collaboration
- New WIDA Facebook groups have been established for educators to connect and share resources: the WIDA Educator Exchange and Supporting Success for Multilingual Learners with Disabilities.
- Teaching Multilingual Learners Online frames insights and resources from the global education community around the 2019 WIDA Guiding Principles of Language Development.
- Two international educators share their insights and lessons learned in the April edition of the WIDA International Newsletter.
- April and June WIDA Featured Educator articles highlight virtual teaching resources.
- Teacher Collaboration During a Global Pandemic, co-authored by WIDA International Programs Director Jon Nordmeyer, outlines five key takeaways from educators around the world that are applicable to all learners.
- WIDA Wallpaper for your computer, tablet or smartphone is available for download from the WIDA Resource Library in English or Spanish to brighten the virtual teaching and learning environment.
- A Flipgrid for the WIDA global community of educators has been created as a space to stay connected and share ideas about teaching multilingual learners online.
WIDA Staff Recommended Resources
- WIDA accommodations and accessibility experts share tips and information that aim to help multilingual students with disabilities find success in the virtual classroom.
- The WIDA Focus Bulletin: Technology in the Classroom provides educators with support as they think critically about the ways different sorts of media and tech tools can help facilitate language development in their contexts.
- The National Science Teachers Association is offering opportunities for students to do science through distance and home learning with their Daily Do, and also offers interactive eBooks.
- The Center for Applied Linguistics offers Online Learning Resources.
- Ellevation Education Distance Learning is a new, free resource that includes K-12 research-based activities to support multilingual learning in a distance learning environment that includes videos and podcasts.
- iCivics is a digital education organization with games and resources that are free for teachers, students, and parents. Six iCivics games have built-in supports for multilingual learners with the option to play in Spanish.
- Lessons and guides by Teaching Tolerance help educators facilitate meaningful discussions around racism, bias, and stereotypes. Teaching Tolerance also provides an excellent guide for educators and students alike to learn how to “Speak Up” when faced with xenophobic or racist remarks.
- Draw me Safe: Coloring and Conversation help families and caregivers talk about how to stay safe and well during a pandemic.
- Newsela provides accessible text available in five different reading levels.
- UW-Madison faculty collaborated with scholars from across the country to create DREME's At-Home Early Math Learning Kit for Families. These downloadable kits include English and Spanish versions.
Mental Health and Staying Well
- UW-Madison’s Department of Psychiatry provides a COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Guide and Support, including a Guide for Families and Children.
- UW-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds provides a COVID-19 Well-Being Toolkit, discusses social distancing as “an act of generosity and compassion,” and provides Meditación en Vivo, en Español.
WIDA does not advocate for or endorse any of these technologies for instruction. Schools, districts and states are responsible for making choices about appropriate and applicable technologies and products.