Coronavirus LERN Recommendations


First Recommendations, March, 2020

1.Institutional Precedence.

If your institution has a policy for a specific item/action, your institution’s policy supersedes (takes precedent) or any of the guidelines below.

2.Public Message.
Immediately issue a message that is both calming and precautionary on your Web Site, in an email to past participants, on social media, and in a press release, stating your current policies and situation.

All agencies relevant to the Coronavirus issue are encouraging organizations to issue statements that are both A. Urging people to remain calm, not panic, and not take actions that might harm others (for example, buying masks and depriving health workers of masks); and B.Urging caution and people taking the pandemic seriously by initiating a number of precautions.


Coronavirus Update    (if there are no cases reported in your community)

There are no reported cases of Coronavirus in our community, and classes are still taking place as scheduled. Unless you are in a vulnerable category (over age 60, underlying health issues), we hope you will feel comfortable attending the scheduled classes. Be mindful of heightened hygiene protocol, such as handwashing, etc. as advised by health officials. Our staff will be monitoring the situation daily, and will increase the frequency of classroom cleaning, and we will provide hygiene supplies in each classroom.

Be aware of recommendations from the CDC and community health organizations. Check this link for more information on CDC guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-ihe-response.html

3.Move More Classes to Online.
 A.  Transfer your top 20.
   Begin to transfer your top 20 (most profitable, not necessarily most registrations, but most profitable) in-person courses immediately into an online class.
Some LERN members in areas that are affected have reported that participants are very pleased to have an online option. If classes cannot be transferred to online formats, those classes may not be able to be held. Here are some formats to consider:
*Asynchronous online classrooms with instructor facilitation
*Webinars with real-time instructor interaction

-If your community does not yet have any identifiable cases, offer the online version as an Option. If your community has identifiable cases, cancel the in-person version and offer only the online version.
-Some classes may not transfer to online, then move to the next most profitable class.
-Some instructors may not want to transfer their classes to online, then move on to the next most profitable class instructor.
-If your institution does not have an online classroom platform, or you prefer to use LERN’s, LERN will provide you with 20 classrooms at no charge, and train 1-2 of your staff on how to use the platform.

LERN supports the move to online instruction and believes that this could have the long-term benefit of increasing participation in online learning opportunities.

B.Offer UGotClass
  Partner now with LERN’s UGotClass to offer our most popular and profitable online courses and certificates to your community AND preserve/create some income to replace lost in-person class revenue.
Our courses are built and ready-to-go.  Classes start every month February through November.
For more information, email Maria Damiani at maria@lern.org
C.Promote online teacher and work at home training.
   Local school districts may be offering online K-12 class training, but they need to move from “just online” to quality online learning with the most advanced successful teaching techniques.
Our Certified Online Instructor (COI)  three course training is the leading designation, so good teachers and others can get graduate credit from the University of South Dakota for the courses.
You get up to 50% of the revenue.

LERN is also offering our Successfully Work at Home, and Managing Telecommuters, online classes on a contract basis.  You generate the contract from a local business or company to train as many employees as they wish.  We work with you on the discount.  You get up to 50% of the revenue.

4.Budget Plan
   Develop a budgetary plan with your central administration.
-Submit either the worst case scenario, or 1-3 scenarios (best to worst) in terms of income and losses.
-Ask for initial estimate from your central administration on how much loss your institution might be able to absorb, when and what cuts you can expect, and what actions you should do to limit the financial loss.

5.Work from Home
Request to send your staff home to work.

6.Offering in-person classes.

IF there are identified cases of coronavirus in your community, cease class operations unless your central administration instructs you, in writing, to do otherwise.

IF there is one or several identified cases in your community but unlikely to infect your entire service area, consider continuing to offer in-person classes in unaffected areas.  For example, the cases are limited to a certain geographic area, or to nursing homes or hospitals unlikely to spread it beyond to the general community. In this case, work with your central administration in making the decision. Do not make the decision without central administration guidance and support.

If there is no identified case of coronavirus in your community, continue to offer in-person classes unless your central administration instructs you, in writing, to do otherwise.

7.New Refund Policy
Institute a temporary modified Refund Policy in response to Coronavirus.

If there are no identifiable cases in your community, we recommend the following refund policy:

-Continue to adhere to your normal refund policy with these modifications:

-Anyone age 60 or older can receive either (you decide) a refund, or a voucher for a future class.

Consider Vouchers
LERN supports the issuance of vouchers instead of cash refunds for several reasons.  The two most important reasons at this time:   a)it sends a message of normalcy, that this is not the end-of-the-world and your in-person classes will resume. This is an important message the CDC and other health officials suggest we should be sending to people.  b)no one will be able to attend a class in the future if your program goes out of business due to lack of funds.

-Anyone under age 60 with a related health condition or illness can receive a refund or voucher with a written note from her or his doctor.

If there are identifiable cases in your community, and you are cancelling in-person classes, we recommend the following refund policy options:

-In all cases, offer a refund option. Here are the recommended options from which to choose:
A.Vouchers for the same class or another class of equal or lesser monetary value. At this time, we suggest a time-limit of 1-2 years after the pandemic is pronounced no longer spreading in your community by health officials.   LERN recommends vouchers.
B.Transfer to the online version of the same class, or any online class available.
C.Money-back refund, in full, whatever you offer for classes that are cancelled.

Again, your institution’s overall policy and any decision by your central administration takes precedence over LERN guidelines, although you should provide central administration with the voucher and transfer options to consider.