School and District OurSCHOOL COVID FAQs Print or save as PDF


Can we leave the survey open all year?
Ordinarily we recommend a survey window or period of  approximately four weeks, with all students completing the survey during this time period.

Extending your survey window can impact the interpretation of your results as those responding at the beginning of the school year may have a different experience than those responding during the middle or end of the school year.

Instead of leaving the survey open all year long, we generally recommend implementing two separate snapshots. This means scheduling one survey period early in the school year (October) and another late in the year (April or early May). This enables you to get a view of your students' voice during this particular “snapshot” of time.

Please contact us for more details.


Can we change our survey implementation timelines?

As a District Coordinator, you determine the survey window or period according to your context. You can close the surveys for your district at the time of your choosing; however, we recommend encouraging your schools to complete their surveys within the window that your division has set.

Please contact us for more details.

Can we survey a smaller sample of students?

The OurSCHOOL survey is intended to afford all students the opportunity to share their voice. By focusing on a smaller sample of students rather than the whole school/student population, you risk losing the perspectives of students who are not asked to participate. This can also impact your year-over-year comparisons of previous survey results.

If you are required to reduce your sample size or adjust your survey approach, the Research team can assist you in your planning to ensure the most representative sample is constructed. Contact us for more information.


What new content is available for me to add to my district surveys?
Every school district is unique and will face different challenges during this pandemic.

To provide you with relevant and actionable data, we have developed the Well-Being Survey that will allow you to deeply understand all aspects of your students’ well-being and the role that your school plays in it. We also have the Transition Back to School Module designed to provide you with a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on your school community. This new survey content will help you to set goals and inform strategies for the new school year.

Please contact us for more details.
What questions should we ask of our students?
To ensure that your survey is precisely targeted to gather the data that best supports your unique goals and situation, please contact our Research team. They will support you by performing a customized measure selection and/or custom question design.
Can we add the new Well-being and Transition Back to School content to our current survey?
The measures that make up the Well-Being (Secondary only) and the Transition Back to School (Elementary & Secondary) surveys will be available for you to select while you compose, and can be added to your current survey.

Please contact your Account Success Manager for more details.
What should I consider in selecting content given the COVID shutdown in the spring / COVID restrictions this fall?
Please review our Knowledge Base article Surveying at home for more information on surveying from home. 
Can you help me craft relevant custom questions?
To ensure that your survey is precisely targeted to gather the data that best supports your unique goals and situation, please contact our Research team. They will support you by assisting you with personalized custom question design.
What is the impact on items that explicitly reference “at school”? Do these still apply?
The potential impact will depend on the measures selected. Many of the “at school” measures are more focused on the interactions between teachers and students, and students with their peers. Adopting a blended learning approach will still facilitate these relationships, and allow students to comment on their school and classroom experiences. You can review our new article Surveying at Home to learn more about the measures that may affect you. 

Please contact our Research team if you require support in selecting your measures or understanding the impact of blending learning models on your survey results.


How do I distribute usernames and passwords?

For a contactless distribution, we would recommend using the mail merge function in Excel (or a comparable spreadsheet) which will allow you to efficiently email unique usernames and passwords to a list of students, parents or teachers.

For more ideas and strategies, please review our article Best Practices: Usernames and Passwords

Can students survey from home?
The OurSCHOOL survey is completely online and students can survey from home if needed. Based on their return to school plans, some districts have chosen to survey from home. The OurSCHOOL Knowledge Base has an abundance of resources to support you, including answers to frequently asked questions from students.

You may consider walking through the survey with students ahead of time to address any questions they may have. You can also have a dedicated number or other type of support (e.g., Google Hangout, Zoom call, Microsoft Teams) available for students who may have questions.

Before getting started this year, we recommend reviewing the following Knowledge Base articles and resources: 
Can the OurSCHOOL survey be done using a smartphone?
The OurSCHOOL survey can be completed on a smartphone or mobile device. For an optimal experience, we recommend using a screen 4 inches or bigger.

You can read more details in our article:
Using OurSCHOOL with mobile devices
How do I get my students through the survey with COVID limitations such as sanitization and limited sharing of devices?
We recommend following the health and safety recommendations required by your school and district to ensure COVID-19 guidelines are maintained.
Can I have extra time (students surveying from home, limited devices, etc.)?

There is no time limit when individual students take the survey - they can take as much time as needed or complete the survey in multiple sittings. The survey is set so that each page of entered responses is saved as soon as the survey taker clicks the mceclip0.png button. If the survey taker retains their username/password login, they can resume the survey from the point they left off (before the interruption, such as a power failure or logout).

For schools and districts, we recommend a survey window or period to last for up to four weeks with all students being invited to participate. However, if you wish, you can leave the survey window open for an extended period of time. Please contact us for more details.


What participation rate should I aim for if I can’t have all my students complete the survey?
Our rule-of-thumb recommendation about sample size is that you should plan to have at least 75% of all students complete the survey. Of course, sample selection is also a consideration. You'll want to ensure that a broad spectrum of students (e.g., different grades, sex, cultural backgrounds, academic performance) are invited to participate.

Please note, while surveying you can monitor your schools’ progress using the Monitor Progress page on the OurSCHOOL website. Your focus will be on the Response Rate and Close Survey columns on this page.


What impact will COVID-19 have on my results? What kind of data are we going to get?
Given the current climate, it is likely that the survey results will differ from historic results. While they are important, the national, provincial, and replica lines may not reflect the ideal comparison at this time.

The best comparison point in this context is your previous data point. If you see differences from your historical data, you should closely monitor this data moving forward, and apply year-over-year comparisons to guide you as the situation evolves.

Please see our Post COVID-19 Data interpretation support article for more information. 


What possible impacts to my data during the pandemic should I consider?
Schools who were unable to survey will obviously be impacted.

If your surveys were started and closed before the outbreak and subsequent school closures related to COVID-19, no related impacts to the data would be expected. However, keep in mind, if fewer students were able to complete the survey last year due to school closures, you may see greater variability/increased fluctuation in student responses.

If you surveyed after OR both before and after the global pandemic disturbed schooling, it is very likely that the survey results will differ from historic results.

Similarly, for schools that surveyed from home, due to being instructed to think back to their schooling experience in the past, it is possible that the survey results will differ.

So, in those later cases, you would need to take into account that unexpected differences in your data would very likely be a reflection of those circumstances and use the year-over-year function to track these differences.

Please see our Post COVID-19 Data interpretation support article for more information. 
How long will reports take to be ready?
Generally, reports take about two business days to get generated at the school level. The district aggregate reports are updated every Sunday.
What impacts will COVID-19 have on our Parent or Teacher surveys?
The impact to your Parent and Teacher survey results will depend on when the timeline of your previous survey was, if the data collection was disrupted by COVID, and the experiences of parents and teachers during this school year.

Your survey results should always be interpreted with the context of your school year in mind.