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Distance Learning and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions | Health Connected


Updated April 21, 2020


Just like most schools, Health Connected has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Since shelter-in-place orders went into effect in mid-March, our team has been hard at work adapting our in-person programs and services for distance learning. Read on for more information about how this might impact your school, district, family, or student. Please check back regularly as we will be updating these FAQs as we learn more and adjust to meet our partners’ needs.


Is Health Connected still delivering courses for schools?

Given the shelter-in-place order from the state of California and guidance from the California Department of Education, we will not be delivering in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. We are now delivering all of our programs and courses online until further notice. Most of our school-based courses have been (or are in the process of being) adapted for distance



How will the online experience differ from in-class experience?

The nature of online learning, unfortunately, necessitates that instruction be more didactic and less hands-on than an in-class experience. That being said, we have built our digital learning modules to have cross-platform integration and interactive components. Students will still engage in live, moderated group discussions via chat, anonymous polls, and a variety of online quizzes and surveys to actively participate and share their thoughts. Each of our digital learning modules includes follow-up activities, additional videos, and a daily trusted adult conversation guide.


How will you ensure student safety and privacy?

Webinar participants will be able to see the Health Connected instructors, but will not be able to see other students. As a precaution to preserve student safety and privacy, all webinar participants will have their microphone muted and video function turned off. The screen sharing function will also be disabled for all webinar participants. The chat function in the webinar platform will only be able to be viewed by the Health Connected instructors. 


How do you prevent online harassment and ensure student privacy during your online courses?

All of our online courses will be facilitated by two trained Health Connected Health Educators. Student participants will not have their audio or video enabled and will only be able to communicate via the platform chat box with the trained Health Educators. The educators will moderate, filter, and rephrase student comments to ensure they are appropriate. If there are persistent issues with inappropriate behavior, the educators will follow up with the host teacher and student directly to discuss behavior expectations.


Once this crisis is over, will you continue to offer online courses in the future?

While we believe strongly that social skill development is a large part of sexual health education and is best delivered in person where students can practice communication skills, we also believe that we can’t abandon the next few months of instruction when many schools schedule their in-person sexual health education courses. We know that we are uniquely positioned to provide interactive, non-judgemental puberty and sexual health education. As such, we are in the process of adapting as many of our courses and programs as possible to be able to meet our district partners’ immediate needs. We have not yet determined if or how online instruction will be incorporated into our in-person instruction and training after the immediate COVID-19 crisis.


I’ve been trained by Health Connected. Can you send me any online tools you’ve developed?

Our team has been working hard to transform our Puberty Talk and Teen Talk courses into an online format accessible to as many students as possible. We have created Distance Learning Toolkits for each of our curricula so that teachers who have been trained to implement Puberty Talk or Teen Talk can provide this important information to your students online through your school/district’s preferred platforms. 


Each Toolkit includes: 
– PowerPoints (one for each of the 5 Puberty Talk  or 10 Teen Talk lessons)
– Videos (MP4 files and YouTube links)
– Student Worksheets (some have been converted into fillable PDFs)
– Teacher Resources (mandated reporting guidelines, adapted assessment)


Please note, our courses are designed to be facilitated live, not completed by each student independently. California Education Code requires that mandated sexual health education incorporate objective discussions of specific topics. All of our original presentations (e.g. PowerPoint, Prezi) have been modified for use with a virtual meeting platform (e.g. Zoom, Webex). Given the sensitive nature of some topics, and the complications of distance learning, we have paired down the content and used a trauma-informed lens to adapt each lesson. The Distance Learning Guide (PDF within each Toolkit) provides an overview of each day’s lesson, as well as ideas for making the lessons more interactive (e.g. polls, discussion questions, quiz games, follow-up assignments). It is not recommended to post/share the presentations in your virtual classroom for students to access on their own. 


Health Connected’s Distance Learning Toolkits are available in our Online Store, priced as follows:

Puberty Talk = $400

Teen Talk MS/HS = $700


These materials will be provided free of charge to anyone who has completed our Training of Trainers program.


While we would love to provide these toolkits free of charge for every school or district, as a non-profit organization, we aren’t able to absorb the cost of the several hundred hours required over the last month to adapt our in-person courses for distance learning. Like most other non-profit organizations, we are in a difficult spot as we try to meet our expenses and retain our staff as revenue-generating programs and fundraisers have been cancelled. That said, we recognize that these fees may be difficult to cover so please contact us at so we can try to find a way to work within your school/district’s financial requirements. 


Please note, our Distance Learning Toolkits are only available to teachers who have been trained by Health Connected since January 2016. If you are unsure if your district qualifies, please contact us at



School or District Representatives (Administrators or Teachers)


Will the courses be live or recorded?

As of right now, all of our student-facing courses will be delivered live, facilitated by two of Health Connected’s Health Educators in order to maximize the interactivity, provide opportunities for student questions to be answered, and create a safe online space for learning about sexual health topics. We are not planning on recording the video of each webinar at this time. We may decide to change this in the future. Follow-up assignments will be posted in Google Classroom or Canvas.


How many sessions are required for your distance learning courses?

Puberty Talk includes 8 total lessons designed to be implemented in 60-90 minutes sessions over the course of 5 days. Teen Talk Middle School and Teen Talk High School include 15 total lessons designed to be implemented in 60-90 minutes over the course of 10 days. A single time slot can accommodate up to 95 students.


Why can’t the webinars be recorded and posted so that my students can complete the instruction at any time that works for them?

This is a new frontier for Health Connected and we are learning more everyday about implementing our courses through an online format. We are dedicated to providing interactive health education with a trained facilitator in a safe space. Given these parameters, we are only offering live webinars for the delivery of classroom content. We may extend our offerings to include recorded versions of the webinar in the future. 


Will all of the mandates of the California Healthy Youth Act (CA Education Code Sections 51930-51939) be fulfilled in the online course?

Under California Education Code, sexual health education is required to be skills-based, such as those related to protective behaviors or communication skills with parents, peers, and partners. There are limitations in online platforms to create safe spaces to build some of these skills, however we have designed all of our online courses to incorporate skill development where ever possible. For example, each session includes a mini homework assignment to ask a trusted adult questions related to the topics covered in each session. 


What happens if schools do not provide this course, are they out of compliance?

There is currently no instructional reprieve from requirements for school districts with regard to sexual health education, even in the current circumstances. As such, school districts are still obligated to provide sexual health instruction for 7th-12th grade students compliant with the California Healthy Youth Act as planned. 


Can we just postpone our planned instruction to the 2020-21 school year?

There is currently no instructional reprieve from requirements for school districts with regard to sexual health education, even in the current circumstances. That said, as long as a district can demonstrate that students received access to compliant sexual health education at least once in middle school and at least once in high school, schools may postpone instruction to the next school year. It is important to keep in mind, that doing so may require additional teachers in the subsequent grade to receive training on delivery of sexual health education and will impose additional instructional requirements on teachers who may already have to play catch-up with their students in the 20-21 school year after 3 months of limited instruction. For schools and districts that have instructional contracts with Health Connected for the 2019-20 school year, please contact us at to discuss additional requirements for postponement of services.


Which platforms and apps are you using? What if my school or district doesn’t allow us to use one or more of those platforms or apps? 

All of our distance learning instruction will be delivered using Zoom Webinar as the online video platform to deliver the classroom instruction. After researching the available options for online presentations, Zoom Webinar provided the most flexibility for incorporation of interactive elements and, most importantly, the most available safety features to ensure a respectful learning environment for students. Schools/districts can use Google Classroom or Canvas Classroom to provide direct links to webinars, follow-up assignments, and resources. For schools/districts that use other learning management systems, we will provide a document with hyperlinks and information for all webinars, follow-up assignments, and resources. 


How much does it cost to deliver Health Connected’s distance learning courses? Can we get a discount if we’ve had our teachers trained?

This is a challenging time for many schools and districts. As a community-based nonprofit organization, we are particularly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis because of the uncertainty of fundraising support. As such, we do have to charge fees for our online instructional courses to cover our costs to develop all of our online content and to continue to pay our staff during this uncertain time. 


For school districts which already have a contract for in-class instruction from Health Connected’s educators during the 2019-20 school year, there is no additional fee to receive instruction via our distance learning platform. 


Health Connected’s online courses are priced as follows:

  • Public schools:

  • Private schools:

For schools or districts whose teachers have received training from Health Connected since January 2016, we can provide a 20% discount on the above fees.


If your school or district does not fall into either of these categories, please contact us at so that we can determine an appropriate fee. 


We recognize that these fees may be difficult to cover so please contact us at so we can try to find a way to work within your school/district’s financial requirements. 


My district is currently not providing purchase orders for any services. Can we still sign up for your online courses?

We understand that many districts or schools may not have fully operational accounting departments. In order to reserve any of our distance learning courses for your students, we require a Letter of Commitment specifying the agreed-upon distance learning services and fees signed by an appropriate decision-maker within your school or district. 


How do you schedule your online courses?

We are working with our district partners to determine the most efficient course scheduling. As of April 1, we are planning to schedule sessions at regular intervals throughout the day, which will be reserved for specific schools on a first come, first serve basis. To schedule a course, please contact us:


Will you be offering online training for teachers?

We are currently adapting our teacher training workshops into a live webinar format. Online training for Puberty Talk is currently available. We will be working on adapting our other workshops during April. Please contact us at for further information.


If we’re not able to receive your adapted digital materials, can we just post the presentations, assignments, and videos we received from the training on our school/district’s online platform for students to access independently? 

Unfortunately, no. California Education Code requires that sexual health education be skills-based and include opportunities for objective discussion of certain topics. The Terms & Conditions of use of any of our curricula prohibits the exclusion or modification of any Health Connected curriculum content in a way that renders it inconsistent with the California Education Code or California Health Content Standards. Lastly, all of our course materials are designed to be facilitated by a trained instructor, who can provide the full scope of content required under the Education Code.


Is attendance mandatory? Will attendance be recorded?

Student attendance policies depend on your school or district’s requirements for student participation in distance learning experiences. Health Connected will record the number of students from each school or district that participate in each of our live webinars, but will not record the names of students who participate. 


Are schools/teachers or Health Connected providing credit for student participation?

Health Connected is not providing credit for student participation. Schools or districts may provide credit, however we will not be recording student names for participation (only total number of participants in each webinar). 



Parents and Trusted Adults


Do you have any online programs for parents?

Starting the week of April 6, we plan to offer weekly Parent Information Sessions delivered via live webinars. The Parent Information Sessions will provide an overview of the Education Code requirements and information about Puberty Talk, Teen Talk Middle School, or Teen Talk High School. Parents must register and provide the name of their student’s school district and/or school. Our immediate priority is delivering student instruction, but Parent Workshops and Family Talks may be created once our student services are established.


I’m a parent and my child was supposed to receive instruction from Health Connected in April or May. Will they still receive instruction? 

Please contact your child’s school to see how or if they will be partnering with Health Connected to provide distance learning.


How can I preview the curriculum if my district office isn’t open?

Review Only copies of the daily slides are available to preview upon request. Please visit Distance Learning Preview for more information and to request access.


Will I have access to the lesson plan so I can support my child’s learning?

The platform your student will use (Google Classroom, Canvas, or your school/district’s preferred learning management system) to access the course will have a list of lesson topics. The Parent Guide associated with your student’s course provides a summary of the content and the rationale for each lesson. The suggested questions help you engage with your child and provide a context to talk about your family’s values as they relate to the content.


What if I want to opt my child out of some or all of the lessons? How do I do that?

Once you receive the notification letter from your school/district regarding upcoming Health Connected instruction, please email the contact person noted in the letter to notify them of your student’s withdrawal from the selected lessons per CA Education Code Section 51938 (b)(4); 51939(a). As with our in-person courses, it is important to know that the course content is scaffolded such that the content for each session builds on and reinforces content from previous sessions.


What if my child misses a lesson? Will they be able to catch up?

Given the instruction is live, if your student misses a lesson, they will not be able to access the ‘live’ portion of the lesson. They will still be able to complete the Follow-Up Activity and the Trusted Adult Questions of the Day, which are accessible on Canvas, Google Classroom, or your school/district’s preferred learning management system.


Will providing instruction on this subject encourage my child to continue looking online for even more information once the lesson is over?

Young people are curious about bodies, relationships, and sexual health – regardless of formalized instruction. Formal instruction legitimizes curiosity and channels it through intentional, factual curriculum design. Our hope is that the natural curiosity of young people will be satisfied by the live instruction, the live Q&A, the Follow-Up Activities, and the encouragement to ask questions of their trusted adults. The intentional engagement with trusted adults provided in the lessons is an effort to help families share their values regarding the content, and further online investigation can be a part of the conversation. It is appropriate that parents and trusted adults caution young people about online exploration, as curiosity about sexual health is almost universal among young people. 


Can parents and their child complete the course together?

While Health Connected highly values parent engagement, students are encouraged to work independently during the live instruction portion of each lesson, as they would during typical classroom instruction. The sensitive nature of the content may cause embarrassment if done with a parent, which could potentially compromise the student’s learning experience. Parents are encouraged to view videos in the Follow-Up Activities section. The Trusted Adult Questions of the Day are also an opportunity to engage with your student about lesson content, however students are encouraged to ask a trusted adult of their choice to do this activity.


How can I best encourage discussion between myself and my child during and after the course?

There are invitations to involve trusted adults whenever there is video content included in the Follow-Up Activity, and of course, there is the Trusted Adult Question of the Day that your student may ask you. Please let your student know of your willingness to be involved in these aspects of programming, and show some enthusiasm for the opportunity (but don’t go overboard, as young people can be suspicious of eagerness). Let the young person lead the conversation if they are able, and ask gentle, open-ended questions if they are struggling (please see the Parent Guide associated with your child’s curriculum for suggested questions). After the course, refer back to the topics so that you can use them as a springboard into broader context or depth. Topics like anatomy, consent, personal safety, and values are taught in all Health Connected courses, and references abound in TV and movies and can be discussed with more confidence knowing that students have a foundation of knowledge and language to use respectfully and more competently. 


Will the classroom teacher or an administrator be involved in the instruction?

Your student’s classroom teacher, science teacher, or assigned staff member will be a “panelist” in the live webinar. They will be able to see the names of students participating, and will have access to the live chat options.


What if my child has limited access to a device?

Some school districts are making devices available to families who do not currently have access to them. Please contact your school district to see if you may apply.



*These FAQ’s will be periodically updated as this complex situation continues to develop.  


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Marie Sandal

lover and blogger!