Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As health officials take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") into communities across the United States, schools are playing an important role. Through collaboration and coordination with State and local health departments, State and local educational agencies, other education officials, and elected officials, schools can disseminate critical information about the disease and its potential transmission to students, families, staff, and community. In addition, as schools manage closures, they can support students, their families, and staff during these uncertain times.

To help schools in communicating key information and building a safe, supportive, virtual learning environment, the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments has identified resources that can help.

Note: This webpage is updated on an ongoing basis.

Featured Resources

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Increases COVID-19 Testing in Schools to Keep Students Safe and Schools Open: Reports new (01/12/22) Federal actions to increase access to COVID-19 testing in schools. “Through these new initiatives, the Administration will increase the number of COVID-19 tests available to schools by 10 million per month. These additional tests will help schools safely remain open and implement screening testing and test to stay programs,” more than doubling the volume of testing that took place in US schools in November 2021. The official White House announcement can be accessed here.

The U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory: Protecting Youth Mental Health: Calls for a swift and coordinated response to the youth mental health crisis as the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a new Surgeon General’s Advisory (12/07/21) outlining the pandemic’s unprecedented impacts on the mental health of America’s youth and families, as well as the mental health challenges that existed long before the pandemic. It provides recommendations that individuals, families, community organizations, technology companies, governments, and others can take to improve the mental health of children, adolescents and young adults.

2022: Staying in School In-Person: Outlines four clear strategies to help K-12 school systems keep students, staff and educators safe in school throughout the 2021-22 school year.  This succinct guide from the U.S. Department of Education (January 2022) advises, “We know what to do and how to do it as we return from winter break.”  This short guide is replete with hyperlinked resources to support implementation of each infection mitigation and health promotion strategy.

K-12 Education

Lessons from the Field Webinar Series: Archives the full, extensive and continuing national webinar series to support educational settings in safely sustaining or returning to in-person instruction. The U.S. Department of Education [ED] is hosting a webinar series in partnership with other federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], and with the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments [NCSSLE]. The series features lessons learned and best practices from teachers, faculty, staff, schools, districts, institutions of higher education, early childhood education providers, and other places of educational instruction, describing approaches to operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click on an event title to access a recording and archived materials. The webpage is updated each time a new event takes place.

Higher Education


General Resources

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

This Web site is operated and maintained by AIR. The contents of this Web site do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education nor do they imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.

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