With COVID-19 jeopardizing the safe opening of schools across the country, many parents are looking into creating “learning pods” or “micro schools” for their children. A learning pod is a small group of students who share a tutor or homeschool instructor. A learning pod can be used if a child’s schooling is 100% remote or if a parent wants to supplement distance learning in their child’s hybrid programs. Many teachers who are apprehensive about going back to school are also looking for opportunities to work in these smaller settings. When it comes to starting or joining a learning pod, here are a few legal considerations that you’ll want to keep in mind as a teacher or a parent.
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What are the benefits of starting or joining a learning pod?
Unlike a traditional school setting, where you might cross paths with hundreds of people on a daily basis, a learning pod allows for a more controlled environment, where your risk of exposure to the virus is more limited. Further, with a smaller group of students meeting outside of the confines of a classroom or school building, you will typically have more space to practice safe social distancing.
Should I register my learning pod or micro school as an LLC?
As a teacher or parent who is starting a micro school or learning pod, you may be interested in registering your school as a formal business entity. In doing so, you may be able to protect your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit. Given that pandemic learning pods are a new idea and generally unregulated, you also might find comfort in the fact that this new venture is separate from you as an individual. If you have questions about forming an LLC or a non-profit for your micro school, ask a lawyer.
Do I need to be credentialed to teach in a learning pod?
As a tutor or instructor, you typically do not need to be credentialed to teach in a learning pod, but if you have state licensing or certification, you may be able to charge higher prices for your services. That said, if you are a parent, you and your family may be subject to your state’s homeschooling laws, which may set requirements for homeschool teacher credentials, curriculum review, testing, and other homeschool practices. If putting your children into a learning pod or micro school means that you are disenrolling them from their current school, you’ll want to make sure that you have a good grasp on the homeschooling laws that apply. A local lawyer can help in that regard.
What if my children are not school-aged?
If the children in your learning pod or micro school are not yet school-aged, you may be able to arrange a nanny share that follows the same format. If you do hire a nanny, use a Nanny Contract to get the terms of the arrangement in writing. You may find that bringing in a nanny allows you to focus more on work—if you are working remotely—and it gives your children the opportunity to socialize in a controlled environment with other families that you trust.
If you have more legal questions about starting a learning pod or hiring a teacher, talk to a lawyer.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.