Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Instruction


  • Synchronous learning is interactive, two-way online instruction that happens in real time with a teacher in the virtual classroom.
  • Synchronous instructional minutes are NOT one consecutive block. Synchronous instruction will be presented in “chunks” to ensure that students are not focused on screen for extended periods of time.
  • Microsoft Teams is the approved APS platform for video-conferencing and will be used for synchronous instruction. Teachers, students, and parents will be able to interact virtually through Teams.

Students will receive a minimum of 2.5 hours of synchronous (live) instruction per day. All other learning will occur asynchronously. When students are not present for synchronous instruction, teachers will treat this absence as they would have in the face-to-face classroom. Teachers will have procedures in place where students can locate their missed work to make up for learning.


Teachers will record portions of their whole group synchronous instruction (e.g. introduction of new content or a mini-lesson) and make the video link available to students via a password-protected platform (i.e. Canvas). The recording of the lessons can take place as long as there is no personally identifiable information or student records disclosed. Teachers will make these recordings available to students to refer to when they are absent or need to review the information.

Families are able to opt-out of having their child recorded during instruction when completing the Annual Online Verification Process (AOVP). If families do not opt-out during the AOVP timeframe, they are able to notify their child’s school in writing at any time that they would like to opt-out their child from being recorded during instructional recordings.

Parents should note that video recordings of instruction are only for educational use by students and may not be shared with others.


  • Asynchronous learning occurs in many forms. Materials, tasks, and assignments are made accessible to students and may include video recorded lessons, online activities, or offline tasks. Interactions with other students and the teacher may occur through various formats (e.g., discussion boards, assignments).
  • In asynchronous learning, students may engage in assignments that are completed on their device OR offline.
  • In asynchronous learning, teachers are supporting instruction, remediation, and extension activities. This support may consist of giving feedback, providing clarifications, and emailing with students.
  • Asynchronous learning is meant to be flexible and self-paced to fit within student schedules, while still maintaining expectations for completion.

Teachers will create asynchronous assignments that allow students to step away from their device as much as possible. Students will not be required to print materials.


Elementary students are encouraged to engage in nightly independent reading of their choice. Beyond that, no additional assignments/homework will be required outside of the expectations for asynchronous work that is part of students’ daily class time, or the 30 minutes per subject of asynchronous work assigned for Mondays.