For many the in-person 2019-2020 school year ended much earlier than anticipated and with new and challenging obstacles to combat while grappling with the COVID-19 global pandemic. At RSEI we usually do a lot of programming at the end of the school year. This is a time when educators are trying to hold the attention of their students as well as prepare them for the upcoming months away from the structure, routine and resources that school provides many young people. We come into classes with requests from “Please give them condoms, it’s almost summer break!” to “This is a graduation requirement and we need this material covered ASAP!” But how does that get done when in-person guest speakers – let alone any normalcy – is out the window for the year? And looking ahead, what will sex ed look like in the fall if schools continue to meet virtually? As always, we are here to support you!
Let’s first talk about the resources RSEI has available to educators. Recently we recorded multiple lessons (anatomy, healthy relationships, birth control, and sexually transmitted infections) in a webinar format so young people can follow along at their own pace. Students watching can engage with the material through the provided note-takers and supplemental resources. Webinars are shorter in length than typical guest lectures to accommodate shortened attention spans that come with virtual learning, and they include a special ICYC keyword so youth can get reliable answers to any questions that the webinars might bring up. In addition to our webinars our ICYC textline is always available! Young people can send the keyword ICYC to 57890 and a trained educator will respond with medically accurate, developmentally appropriate answers within 24 hours.
If you’re looking for a lesson we don’t have in webinar format yet, don’t worry! RSEI also has lessons available for purchase that you can facilitate yourself! Head over to responsiblesexedinstitute.org/ and check out our shop! Our educators also have office hours available if you need support thinking through a game plan.
As you might expect, we aren’t the only ones working hard to get virtual sex education to students across the country. We see so many organizations and businesses pivoting to meet the needs of our communities. Some of our favorite virtual sex education resources include:
Amaze – Videos for elementary and middle schoolers that cover topics from healthy friendships to protection methods. There are often multiple video formats on any given topic so everyone can find what they need. Recently Amaze expanded to amaze jr. where there are videos for pre-k learners as well and Amaze Parents with videos and resources for families ready to start having sexual health conversations with their young person.
Love Is Respect – Provides comprehensive education on healthy, unhealthy and abusive dating relationships and behaviors. There are quizzes for students to test their understanding of what makes relationships healthy, unhealthy or abusive and resources for educators/ families to help create a culture of understanding different behaviors and warning signs within relationships.
Scarleteen – inclusive and comprehensive information on sexuality and relationships for teens and young adults. Content includes articles, Q&A, and resources covering almost any topic you could think of within sexual health.
Sex Positive Families – Sex Positive Families is an online platform that provides parents and caring adults with the education, resources, and support to raise sexually healthy children using a shame-free, comprehensive, and pleasure-positive approach. We especially love their reading list (and not just because our book “In Case You’re Curious: Questions About Sex from Young People with Answers from the Experts” is on it)!
SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change – SIECUS recently came out with their own recommendations for homeschooling sex education during COVID-19! We love their resources and their guidelines which help determine what content should be covered at each age!
Maybe you already know what you want to teach you’re just not sure how to make it virtual? Here are a few websites that can help you engage with your students in fun ways:
Kahoot – Online quiz platform that turns quiz taking into a game between them and their classmates. With lots of different quiz question formats teachers can keep their students engaged. Teachers will have to do back end work to prepare materials for students.
Quizlet – Online study materials from flashcards, diagrams, and study guides that can help students engage with sexual health materials. This site does require a login and teachers will do back end work to prepare materials for students.
We hope these are a helpful starting place! We are so impressed with how schools and educators have been handling the challenges related to transitioning to virtual classrooms. We are grateful for your continued support and are proud to stand with you all as educators. Stay safe, wash your hands, and don’t forget sex ed!