Supporting Students with Intensive Needs during COVID-19

Supporting Students with Intensive Needs during COVID-19

During Spring 2020, educators quickly adapted to providing interventions and collecting data virtually despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents were critical partners in supporting opportunities for students with intensive needs to practice and receive feedback and sharing what was working and when changes are needed. During Fall 2020, educators are providing virtual, in-person, and hybrid intervention with an ongoing need to engage with and support parents and families. While the context and environment may have changed, the focus on providing high-quality interventions with validated practices, monitoring student progress, and adapting and intensifying supports based on student data continues to be applicable across virtual, in-person, or hybrid models.

Click on the headers below, to find resources organized by topic area. Many of these resources were developed by educators participating in a community of practice in spring 2020. They include example lessons, implementation videos, tip sheets, and data collection strategies.  ​

Mathematics Lessons & Intervention Examples

Girl looking at teacher on a computer screen

Virtual Lesson Example: Show Me the Number Using Base Ten Blocks

This lesson illustrates how to use virtual manipulatives within a math lesson. It can be provided asynchronously or synchronously.

Virtual Lesson Example: Tips on Implementing Area of Polygons​

This unit of study includes a tip sheet, slides with activities, and supplemental materials that are associated with finding the area of various polygons, the area of circles, and the relationship between the area formulas, as well as a final activity exploring the area of a parallelogram and the area of a circle.

Implementation of Mathematics Lessons: Grandparent Example​

In this video example, a grandfather illustrates how to implement a math lesson to extend practice opportunities for students.

Literacy Lessons & Intervention Examples

Black woman and girl at table, girl  drawing letters something.

Virtual Lesson Example: Supporting Students’ Foundational Reading Skills

This virtual literacy lesson illustrates students engaging in a variety of facilitated activities to support phonemic awareness, phoneme–grapheme correspondence, irregular and high-frequency words, writing, and connected text.

Virtual Implementation of Reading Lesson: Educator Example

This sample lesson illustrates how an educator can implement a reading lesson virtually to encourage multiple practice opportunities using explicit instruction principles. Two tip sheets are also available. One provides tips for educators and the second provides tips for supporting parents and families with using the lessons at home.

Implementation of Reading Lesson: Parent Example​​

In this video example, a mother illustrates how to implement a reading lesson to extend practice opportunities for students.

UFLI Virtual Teaching Resource Hub

This site from the University of Florida Literacy Institute includes lessons to assist teachers to teach foundational reading skills using technology with children in elementary grades. They are designed to be used with video conferencing plaftorms and can also be used through asynchronous video lessons.

Strategies to Support Students' Social-Behavioral Needs

Girl looking at computer screen.

Webinar: Don’t Socially Distance, Physically Distance! How to Support Social-Behavioral Needs in Virtual, In-Person, and Hybrid Learning

This webinar highlights strategies schools should consider in relationship to their implementation of social-behavioral supports across the continuum of tiers in a multi-tiered system of support framework as they return to school during COVID-19 restrictions.

Returning to School: Considerations for Students with the Most Intensive Behavioral Needs. A Guide to Supporting Students With Disabilities, Their Families, and Educators During the 2020–21 School Year

This guide provides strategies and key practices to support students with the most intensive behavioral needs, their families, and educators in their transitions back to school during and following the global pandemic in a manner that prioritizes their health and safety, social and emotional needs, and behavioral and academic growth.

Virtual Data Collection and Teaming

papers and envelopes with stickers

Frequently Asked Questions on Collecting Progress Monitoring Data Virtually

This collection of frequently asked questions is intended to provide a starting place for educators and administrators to consider as they rethink how to collect and analyze progress monitoring data in a virtual setting.

Maintaining Screening and Progress Monitoring Practices in Virtual/Remote Settings

This resource illustrates how a school piloted a process for implementing screening and progress monitoring virtually. It includes guiding questions and considerations for implementation, video examples, and a sample sign-up sheet for screening and progress monitoring students virtually.

CBM at Home

This resource from the National Center on Improving Literacy provides instructional video examples and materials for conducting reading curriculum based measures at home for students in kindergarten, first, second and third grade.

Implementation Supports and Structures

Computer screen with calendar and schedule

Planning for Instruction both at School and Distance Learning: The 5C Process

This resource from the TIES Center overviews the 5C process and then provides additional detail and examples for each of the 5Cs (Components, Collaboration, Continuity, Collect Data, Capacity). A Learning Matrix Tool is also available.

Evidence-Based and Promising Practices to Support Continuity of Learning for Students With Disabilities: Practices and Resources to Support Teachers

This brief presents practices and resources that educators of children and youth with disabilities can use to support students’ continuity of learning during school building closures. It highlights accessibility information, instructional modality (asynchronous or synchronous) and example of pracitces.

Collaborating with Families

Father and son working on lesson in front of a computer screen with a teacher

Using Sample Lessons to Support Continuity of Learning During COVID-19: Tips for Parents

These videos illustrate how parents and grandparents can implement the NCII reading and mathematics sample lessons to provide additional practice. In addition to the video examples, a tip sheet is available to help parents implement the lessons.

Supporting Students with Disabilities at School and Home: A Guide for Teachers to Support Families and Students

This guide highlights five key practices for teachers and families to support all students, including students with disabilities, at school and home.

Family Guide to At-Home Learning

This guide from the CEEDAR Center has practical strategies to help children of all ages struggling with an at-home learning task.

Parents: Supporting Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This module from the IRIS Center offers tips for parents to support their child’s learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helping Your Kid With…

These videos from the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk are intended to help parents and guardians use effective practices to teach students at home due to COVID-19.

Evidence-Based and Promising Practices to Support Continuity of Learning for Students With Disabilities: Practices and Resources to Support Parents and Families

This topical brief presents practices and resources that educators, early interventionists, and parent center staff can share with parents and families of students with disabilities to support students’ continuity of learning during school building closures.

Related Resources


Providing Virtual Intervention and Progress Monitoring

Voices from the Field

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Exceptional Children Teachers: Supporting Students, Families and Each Other During COVID-19 Restrictions


"My students just longed for connection. Last spring, I spoke with my students anywhere from a couple of minutes to an hour per student. (Behavior Virtual Interventionist, August 2020)."