Guide to In-Person Tutoring

Now that COVID-19 restrictions are lessening, School on Wheels is slowly reopening for in-person tutoring. Our policies have slightly changed for in-person tutoring, but our mission remains the same: support our students. Check out our recorded webinar and detailed guide below for a successful start with your next in-person tutoring placement.

If you or your student experience any issues or have questions, please contact your regional team member directly. If you do not know who your coordinator is, please email volunteers [at]

Please Note: All volunteers placed at an in-person tutoring location must watch this webinar from start to finish. Once the webinar ends, you will be prompted to enter your name and the email you used on your volunteer application. It’s important to stay on this page until you submit your name and email to avoid having to restart the webinar.

  • Vaccinations – School on Wheels requires all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Volunteers who would like to tutor in-person will need to submit proof of vaccination to our HR team. 
  • Partnerships – A team of School on Wheels staff visit each of our partnerships to discuss safety protocol and in-person tutoring eligibility. Together with our partners, we assess safe, in-person tutoring locations on-site (outdoors) and build an action plan to keep our students and tutors safe.
  • Safety Protocols – All volunteers tutoring in-person will be required to submit proof of vaccination. Masks are highly recommended for all parties at all outdoor tutoring locations. Some of our partners might require temperature checks upon arrival and/or routine COVID testing. 
  • Communication – All in-person tutors, shelter partners, and School on Wheels staff members must report all positive COVID cases to our HR team via confidential[at] Our team will notify all relevant parties about possible exposure and/or changes to in-person sessions. 
  • Shelters – Our partnerships vary in size and location. Some partnerships are houses in residential neighborhoods while others can look like a group of several buildings. Your coordinator will be able to tell you more about the specific location you’ll be tutoring at. 
  • Parking – Each location has different parking areas ranging from private lots to public street parking. Your coordinator will give you parking instructions before the day of your tutoring session. 
  • Tour – Your coordinator or the shelter staff will give you a tour of the location including all approved tutoring locations, restrooms, and off-limit areas. 
  • Who will be at the session? Your coordinator will meet you in-person right outside the shelter. They will introduce you to the shelter staff as well as your student and their parent or guardian. Depending on the shelter, you might greet other students and families or be introduced to additional staff. 
  • What will the student and I work on? Your first session will focus on building rapport with your student. We recommend using the entire hour to share each other’s interests and goals. Your coordinator will have a rapport-building worksheet to help get the conversation started.
  • Dresscode & materials – We recommend tutors wear appropriate casual wear with no inappropriate words or logos; Avoid open-toed shoes. Make sure to print any worksheets and/or prepare any activities you have planned. We recommend charging any device or phone before your session. 
  • Build rapport – Your first session with your student will be a meet and greet with the family and/or shelter staff. Instead of focusing on academics, we highly recommend you spend the first session building rapport with your student. 
  • Arrival – Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to allow time for parking. Once you park, call or text your coordinator and they’ll meet you outside of the tutoring location. 
  • Check out – As your session comes to an end, take moment with your student to recap the material you completed together. You can even ask if your student would like to review the material completed with their parent or guardian. Close out by picking a few things you and your student want to work on the following week. 
  • Schedule next week – Before you leave, confirm the date and time of your next session with your student and their parent or guardian. 
  • Log your hours – The day after your first session, you’ll be able to access your online logging portal on our website. We require that tutors log every attended and canceled tutoring session. If you are a group tutor, under “location”, please put whatever location your student is currently staying. Be sure to include any challenges or difficulties you faced in the comments so we can follow up and address them if possible.
  • Resources – You can search for additional materials via our resource library. You can search for resources by grade level, subject type, and activity type. Each session, we recommend bringing options from our resource library, materials from your core program, and any additional materials tied to your student’s interests. 
  • Utilizing tech – Tutoring in person does not mean tech won’t be involved. Tutors and students can use their own laptops, tablets, or phones to access online resources and activities. The tutoring location or student will have a connection to the internet to use during your session. 
  • Internet instability – While there will be connection to the internet, there’s also a change the connection could be touchy. Always have back materials or activities prepared in case this happens. 
  • Structure your session – Students respond well to structure because they’ll know what to expect each week. Incorporate a check-in and check-out routine in your sessions. This helps you understand what mood your student is in and helps you plan for future sessions. Build the session routine with your student to increase the agency in their own education.  
  • Have FUN – We highly recommend incorporating FUN into your sessions! Every student learns differently, so try incorporating videos, books, tangible objects, and/or physical movement. 
  • Shelter staff – Don’t be afraid to ask the shelter staff for support during your sessions. They’re more than happy to help with any communication or provide additional support.