During the past two years schools have played an important role in helping health officials and whole communities to limit the spread of COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") across the United States. Through collaboration and coordination with State and local health departments, State and local educational agencies, other education officials, and elected officials, school systems have been playing a primary role in supporting students, their families, and staff during these uncertain times. Despite extraordinary efforts, both direct and secondary impacts of the deadly virus and our national public health emergency have been severe.
As schools continue to manage learning and nurture well-being for America’s students in the dynamic context of the extended pandemic, the National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environment [NCSSLE] appreciates the extraordinary challenges ahead for school systems and communities to both limit and mitigate adverse impacts the pandemic has generated for youngsters, their families, schools and communities. On behalf of the US Department of Education, the NCSSLE team is committed to identify and build on lessons learned to help strengthen our schools and reimagine what it means to create and maintain a safe and supportive learning environment within the context of the pandemic and its aftermath.
Note: This webpage is updated on an ongoing basis.
End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and the COVID-19 National Emergency and Implications for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Describes the end of certain COVID-19-related Medicaid and CHIP coverage and enhanced federal funding as of the expected end date of the COVID-19 PHE on May 11, 2023. During the COVID-19 PHE, states adopted many temporary flexibilities to support providers and individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. CMCS has previously disseminated information about how states can continue many of those flexibilities beyond the COVID-19 PHE, if permissible. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMCS] remains available to provide states with technical assistance as they prepare to return to routine operations.
HHS Releases New National Guidelines for Improving Youth Mental Health Crisis Care (11-10-22): Announces issuance of SAMHSA’s new National Guidelines for Child and Youth Behavioral Health Crisis Care, which describes the urgent need to improve crisis response services for children, youth, and families and provides guidance on how communities can address the existing gaps in care for youth. The National Guidelines offer best practices, implementation strategies, and practical guidance for the design and development of services that meet the needs of children, youth, and their families experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
CDC Streamlines COVID-19 Guidance to Help the Public Better Protect Themselves and Understand Their Risk [08-11-22]: Announces the most recent revision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to streamline its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. The CDC announcement acknowledges that, while COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, “with so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic… This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”
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.
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.
COVID-19 by County - Know Your COVID-19 Community Level: Offers a new (03/10/22) tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high, and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. The CDC recommends that communities should take public health precautions based on the COVID-19 Community Level, as indicated by the tool. This site offers a COVID-19 County Check database enabling easy retrieval of pertinent data for every county in each state.
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.
Return to School Roadmap - How to Prioritize the Health and Safety of Students, School Personnel, and Families: Provides clarity regarding existing requirements to enable schools and communities to prepare for safe in-person learning and welcome students back to physical classrooms for the 2021-2022 academic year. The US Department of Education’s (ED's) Roadmap explains four key steps that can help school communities remain safe and healthy during the return to school and beyond:
- Everyone Ages 12 Years and Older: Get Vaccinated Before School Begins
- Make a Plan to Prevent COVID-19 from Spreading at School
- Connect Students and Families to Nutritious School Meals
- Help Students and Families Access Safe Transportation to School
COVID-19 and the 2021-2022 School Year: Tracks COVID-19 pandemic data to provide schools, families and communities with current, relevant data to inform efforts to keep everyone safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] provide real-time data tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic through several resources. The Department of Education [ED] draws school-related data from the CDC COVID Data Tracker, the HHS Protect Public Data Hub and other sources to provide the public with information to support safe and healthy learning in the 2021-2022 school year and beyond.
Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools: Updates (11/05/21) official CDC guidance to reflect authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11. This updated guidance for school administrators outlines strategies for K-12 schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe operations. It continues to emphasize implementing layered prevention strategies to protect students, teachers, staff, and other members of their households, and to support in-person learning. This guidance is based on current scientific evidence and lessons learned from schools implementing COVID-19 prevention strategies.
ED COVID-19 HANDBOOK - Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools (Volume 1 - 2021): Updates (April 2021) the February 2021 ED handbook to incorporate the latest official federal guidance on safe practices for in-person learning.
ED COVID-19 HANDBOOK - Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs (Volume 2 - 2021): Provides official federal guidance (April 2021) for creating safe and healthy learning environments, addressing lost instructional time, and supporting educator and staff stability and well-being. The handbook volumes are produced by ED's Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. See, too, the Return to School Roadmap guide for K-12 schools and communities for the 2021-2022 school year.
Back to School Toolkit: Provides resources for school district leaders, teachers, parent leaders, and school supporters who want to help increase confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in their school communities, answer questions, and outline school guidance about COVID-19. This federally produced toolkit includes information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and new, tailored materials from the US Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] COVID-19 Public Education Campaign.
Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse: Provides resources for communities, schools, educators, and families working together to continue to reopen U.S. schools for in-person learning while supporting the needs of all students, particularly historically underserved students and those who have been impacted greatest by the pandemic. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona introduced this new clearinghouse on 4/30/21, explaining “Our role at the Department is to provide guidance and directions on how to (safely reopen all schools for in-person learning, beginning with children in grades K-8), safely and equitably.”
Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning: Presents the most recent guidance (05/27/22) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to help K-12 school and ECE program administrators support safe, in-person learning for K-12 schools, and keep early childhood education [ECE] programs open, while managing the spread of COVID-19. Based on the COVID-19 Community Levels, this guidance provides flexibility so schools and ECE programs can adapt to changing local situations, including periods of increased community health impacts from COVID-19. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated, on release of this updated guidance, ““Nearly 100 percent of our schools are open for in-person learning. As we enter the summer, we need to take the lessons we’ve learned from this school year and continue to do what works to keep all kids and educators healthy. This CDC guidance will help early childhood education centers, summer camps, and K-12 schools provide a healthy environment for their community. By working with local health officials and using layered prevention strategies we can allow our students to continue down the road to recovery this summer and beyond.”
Summary of Guidance for Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Persons, Communities, and Health Care Systems — United States, August 2022: Describes and explains new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] that loosen prior guidelines regarding social distancing, masking and isolation, in light of changing circumstances (i.e. high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools) that have substantially reduced the risk for medically significant COVID-19 illness and associated hospitalization and death. “These circumstances now allow public health efforts to minimize the individual and societal health impacts of COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable measures to further reduce medically significant illness as well as to minimize strain on the health care system, while reducing barriers to social, educational, and economic activity.”
Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools (01/06/22): Updates CDC guidance for K-12 schools based on CDC’s updates to Quarantine and Isolation Guidance for the general public as the course of the pandemic continues to evolve. Key takeaways from these updates include:
- Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction continues to be a priority.
- Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.
- CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all* students (ages 2 years and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
- New CDC guidance has reduced the recommended time for isolation and quarantine periods to five days.
CDC has also prepared this new overview of COVID-19 quarantine for K-12 schools.
Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People: Updates (07-27-21) official CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant currently circulating in the United States. Within this update, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status!
Returning to School: Mitigation and Mental Health Strategies: Provides the presenters’ slide deck, including hyperlinked primary references, for January 2021’s national presentation by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] on how to optimize mitigation strategies and mental health support to facilitate students’ safe return to school in the new year. Co-hosted by ED’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools [OSSS] and the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments [NCSSLE], this webinar presented user-friendly tools for schools to inform their selection and implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies; and information about how to support and promote mental health for K-12 students and school staff, both in-person and virtually.
Updated (04/27/21) Healthcare Infection Prevention Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination: Provides practical approaches that can be used to protect health care personnel, patients and communities. This input from the CDC can serve as a useful reference for school nurse, counseling and other professional staff who interact in close physical proximity with students to optimize safety and minimize risks of viral transmission. A concise one-sheet brief version is also provided for efficient dissemination.
Guidance for Returning to Work: Guides employers and workers in safely returning to work and reopening businesses during the evolving Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Employers can use this guidance to develop policies and procedures to ensure the safety and health of their employees. This guidance focuses on the need for employers to develop and implement strategies for basic hygiene (e.g., hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection), social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities, and employee training. This guidance, from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA], pertains not only to school facilities as workplaces, but also for employer- and business-based on-the-job learning sites for adolescents as part of their career and technical education, and for community voluntarism and extra-curricular activities.
Key Policy Letters Signed by the Education Secretary or Deputy Secretary: Shares new and existing resources from the federal government that can help education systems access COVID-19 tests and implement testing programs in their schools. Secretary Cardona’s (01/12/22) announcement details four resources that can support school-based testing programs: state COVID-19 testing programs and resources funded by the CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) program; free lab-based testing through the CDC Operation Expanded Testing (OpET) program; using COVID-19 (ESSER) relief funds to connect with school COVID-19 testing vendors; and partnering with community COVID-19 testing sites.
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.
COVID-19 Testing in K-12 Settings - A Playbook for Educators and Leaders: Offers detailed, step-by step guidance to help educators, leaders, and their public health partners put CDC testing recommendations into action. The playbook was developed by the non-profit, Testing for America, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Skoll Foundation. The playbook expands on the high-level Covid-19 testing protocols for K-12 schools released in October 2020 and is informed by the operational experience and learnings from school district and public health leaders around the country since that time.
National Resources Supporting School COVID-19 Screening Testing: Information for State Health and Education Agencies and School Districts: Identifies resources available to state and local health and education agencies and school districts that can be engaged in complementary ways as part of school screening programs. The identification of commercial products in this publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] is for information only, and does not imply endorsement by the CDC of any commercial product, service, or company.”
ELC Reopening Schools: Support for COVID-19 Screening Testing to Reopen and Keep Schools Operating Safely: Provides up-to-date information, including clinical and implementation guidance, for CDC grantees at the vanguard of the nation’s COVID-19 screening/testing efforts. In April 2021 CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Disease [ELC] awarded $10 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on behalf of CDC to 62 recipients s in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. This page links to all 62 implementation plans, and provides a large suite of resources for launching and maintaining school screening testing programs.
What You Should Know about COVID-19 Testing in Schools: Provides updated guidance (01/06/22) from the CDC’s Division of Adolescent Health [DASH] about COVID-19 testing as schools go back to in-person learning after the winter holidays break. Some schools may offer regular COVID-19 testing for students and staff, even for people who don’t have symptoms of COVID-19. Many schools will also offer testing for people with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Schools do not need to require a negative test result for students, teachers and staff to return to school after breaks.
Start-Up Guide for COVID-19 Testing in Schools: Provides a 1-page start-up guide to help schools initiate or strengthen regular COVID-19 testing systems intended to maximize safety for students and school staff while facilitating in-person K-12 learning. This guide is proved by the Rockefeller Foundation, which has joined forces with the White House, the U.S. Department of Education [ED], and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to launch a learning network for school and district leaders to help them start or strengthen COVID-19 screening testing programs.
Family FAQs about Testing: Offers responses to a set of ten questions parents are likely to consider if invited by their child’s school system to have the student participate in regular COVID-19 testing. This guide is proved by the Rockefeller Foundation, in concert with the White House, the U.S. Department of Education [ED], and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], supporting a learning network for school and district leaders about how to start or strengthen COVID-19 screening testing programs.
Community-Based Testing Sites for COVID-19: Invites individuals to find a COVID-19 testing location near them, no matter what state they live in. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established this on-line tool, indicating where COVID-19 tests are available at health centers and select pharmacies. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures that COVID-19 testing is free to anyone in the U.S., including the uninsured. [Beyond those listed, additional testing sites may be available, so readers are advised to contact their health care providers or their state or local public health departments for more information.]
Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19): Provides the most recent/current CDC guidance on the appropriate use of testing for SARS-CoV-2 in light of additional testing capacity throughout the country. (This CDC guidance does not address decisions regarding payment for or insurance coverage for COVID-19 testing).
CDC Strengthens Recommendations and Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], effective 5/19/22, is expanding eligibility of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to everyone 5 years of age and older. CDC now recommends that children ages 5 through 11 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. Since the pandemic began, more than 4.8 million children ages 5 through 11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 15,000 have been hospitalized and, tragically, over 180 have died. As cases increase across the country, a booster dose will safely help restore and enhance protection against severe disease. In addition, today CDC is strengthening its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after their first.
FDA Authorizes Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccines for Use as a Booster Dose in Younger Age Groups: Announces (10/12/22) the Food and Drug Administration’s [FDA] emergency use authorizations (EUAs) of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, as single booster doses in younger age groups. “Since children have gone back to school in person and people are resuming pre-pandemic behaviors and activities, there is the potential for increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccination remains the most effective measure to prevent the severe consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D. “While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, as the various waves of COVID-19 have occurred, more children have gotten sick with the disease and have been hospitalized. Children may also experience long-term effects, even following initially mild disease. We encourage parents to consider primary vaccination for children and follow-up with an updated booster dose when eligible.”
COVID-19 Updated Booster Vaccines Covered Without Cost-Sharing for Eligible Children Ages 5 to 11: Announces (10/25/22) that Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage is available for eligible covered children for the updated COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] remind the public that “…regardless of what coverage you have, or whether you have coverage at all, COVID-19 vaccines are free to anyone who wants one, for both children and adults.” Information regarding the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and how the COVID-19 vaccines are provided through that program at no cost to recipients is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccination-provider-support.html and through the COVID-19 Vaccine Policies & Guidance page. “This coverage is part of the ongoing commitment to protect children against severe COVID-19 illness.”
CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccines for Young Children: Announced (06/18/22) the CDC director’s endorsement of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children and means that all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination.
COVID-19 Vaccinations Covered Without Cost-sharing for Eligible Children Aged Six Months to Five Years: Announces, in light of recent approvals by the FDA and CDC, that children aged six months to five years with Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations without cost-sharing. Nearly all people with Medicaid, CHIP, Basic Health Program coverage, self-insured employer-sponsored coverage, and group and individual health insurance coverage can get COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters, at no cost. People with Medicare pay nothing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance or deductible. People without health insurance or whose insurance doesn’t provide coverage of the vaccination can also get COVID-19 vaccines and their administration, including boosters, at no cost.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Expands Eligibility for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose to Children 5 through 11 Years: Amends the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, authorizing the use of a single booster dose for administration to children 5 through 11 years of age, at least five months after completion of a primary series with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD announced on 5/18/22, “The FDA is authorizing the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age to provide continued protection against COVID-19. Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and its severe consequences, and it is safe.” On 1/3/22 the FDA authorized the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for to individuals 12 through 15 years of age after completion of primary vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccines.gov: Serves as the federal government’s primary web-based source of information about COVID-19 vaccines, including a VaccineFinder tool to identify a vaccination administration site near any location in the US. This site is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].
Unvaccinated Kids at Much Higher Risk of Severe MIS-C Outcomes: Summarizes findings and implications of new COVID-19 research indicating serious health risks for unvaccinated children. According to the American Medical Association’s liaison to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are seven and 11 times higher in unvaccinated adolescents respectively, compared with their vaccinated counterparts. “Boosting teens is important but promoting the primary vaccination series is just as crucial.” At time of publication (January 2022), only ½ the nation’s 16.7 million 12–15-year-old adolescents were fully vaccinated.
Vaccination Is Our Best Chance to End the Pandemic: Argues in defense of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA]’s emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 vaccination for large businesses. The President of the American Medical Association [AMA] asserts that “Our ethical obligation as healers and health professionals to always put the health and safety of our patients first carries an awesome responsibility that also requires us to become vaccinated against COVID-19.” The AMA has joined several other medical associations in support of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] vaccine requirements in health care organizations. “(More than a dozen leading medical organizations representing family doctors, pediatricians, allergists and immunologists, clinical pathologists) all recognize COVID-19 as a grave danger to public health and support widespread vaccination requirements as the most effective strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
How to Talk to Parents About COVID-19 Vaccines: 3 Tips from Scientists: Suggests schools should center their communication with parents around changes related to the COVID-19 vaccine. The guidance, based on recent expert consultation for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine [NASEM], discusses three basic communication strategies: highlight new, personally relevant information; focus on trends; and address myths and disinformation. The NASEM guidance calls for schools to avoid rebuking or lecturing parents who have not yet gotten themselves or their children vaccinated, but instead “give opportunities to make a new decision.”
FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Announces Update on Operational Planning for COVID-19 Vaccinations for Kids Ages 5-11: Announces (10/19/21) Biden-Harris Administration plan to ensure that, if a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for children ages 5-11, it will be quickly distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country. The start of a vaccination program for children ages 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but the White House’ planning efforts aim “to be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation.”
CDC Recommends Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5 to 11 Years: Announces (11/02/21) endorsement by CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ [ACIP] recommendation that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. CDC now expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States in this age group, and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible. CDC announced that distribution of pediatric vaccinations across the country started this week, with plans to scale up to full capacity starting the week of November 8th. Vaccines will be available at thousands of pediatric healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and more.
Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People: Updates (07/27/21) official CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant currently circulating in the United States. Within this update, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status!
COVID-19 Vaccine: Serves as a hub for official CDC information about vaccine data, information on how to get vaccinated, Q&A, as well as clinical and professional resources. CDC now recommends that people whose immune systems are compromised moderately to severely should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses> Read the 8/13/21 CDC Statement.
Biden-Harris Administration Makes 100% Federal Medicaid Matching Funds Available for State Expenditures on Certain COVID-19 Vaccine Counseling Visits for Children and Youth: Announces (12/02/21) new requirement for states to cover COVID-19 vaccine counseling visits in which healthcare providers talk to families about the importance of kids’ vaccination, and establishes funding mechanism to cover costs for such visits. Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to over 40% of all children in the United States. This action will “help expand access to individualized medical advice in all communities and give families the support they need to engage with trusted community providers.”
COVID-19 Vaccines and Children: State Strategies to Increase Access and Uptake through Pediatric Providers: Identifies current challenges and state-level strategies to vaccinate children 5–11 years old through pediatric providers. The National Academy for State Health Policy reports that states are rapidly preparing to roll out the vaccine for younger children, addressing issues around equitable access, education, and partnerships. More new COVID-19 cases and deaths were reported among children in September 2021 than in any previous month. Current COVID-19 vaccination rates among adolescents ages 12–17 vary widely state-by-state, from more than 70% fully vaccinated in some states compared to less than 30% fully vaccinated in others. The recent slowing in uptake for the adolescent age group signals challenges as eligibility extends to the 28 million children who are ages 5–11 across the country.
20 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids under 12: Provides responses from health care experts at University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to questions below about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for younger kids. Click here to read additional questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccination that predated federal vaccine approval for children 5-11.
Strategies for Building Confidence in the COVID-19 Vaccines: Describes a variety of public engagement and communication strategies that can be implemented at the national, state, and local levels to change patterns of interaction with the public, address hesitancy about the vaccines, and build trust. This rapid expert consultation from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [NASEM] asserts that people who are hesitant, reluctant, distrusting, or otherwise not motivated with respect to being vaccinated need resources, information, and support for making the vaccination decision that is right for them. Public engagement and effective communication through clear, transparent messaging will play a central role in building confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.
School-Located Vaccination: School Nurse Planning Checklist: Identifies key considerations for school nurses when planning for school-located vaccinations, including for COVID-19 and for influenza. The National Association of School Nurses [NASN] and the Association of Immunization Managers [AIM] directed an environmental scan and roundtable discussions to inform this 3-page product.
Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine (07/27/21 update): Provides official CDC information and tips to help you know what to expect when you get vaccinated, what information your provider will give you, and resources you can use to monitor your health after you are vaccinated.
Most Children and All Teens Can Get COVID-19 Vaccines: Presents clear guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] (11/04/21) supporting its recommendation that everyone ages 5 and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. Offers a table showing which vaccines are approved for people by age group (e.g. Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one authorized for children ages 5-11 and youngsters ages 12-17). States that the federal government is providing COVID-19 vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. Provides links and toll-free phone number to find vaccination locations near any zip code.
FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age: Announced emergency use authorization (10/29/21) of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include children ages 5 through 11 years of age. Summarizes key points for parents and caregivers about effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, ongoing safety monitoring systems in place to detect and investigate potential safety problems; and describes the studies/methodologies that supported the authorization decision.
Bacerra-Cardona Letter on COVID-19 Vaccination for Children (11-08-21): Encourages families, students, community members and educators to actively support the vaccination process for K-12 children. The U.S. Secretaries of Health and Human Services and of Education make three joint requests, and share information and resources to support them: 1. Host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at your school(s); 2. distribute information about the COVID-19 vaccine to all families with children ages five through eleven years old; and 3. hold conversations with your school communities on the covid-19 vaccine.
Coverage is Available for COVID-19 Vaccinations for Eligible Children Ages 5 through 11: Reminds eligible consumers that coverage is available under Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and in the commercial market for COVID-19 vaccination without any out-of-pocket co-payment. CMS issues this reminder in conjunction with the CDC and FDA authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children in this age group. “The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to keep children safe. The strongest protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, is to get vaccinated,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “I encourage parents everywhere to talk with their pediatrician, school nurse, or other trusted healthcare provider about any questions they may have and to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible.” People can visit vaccines.gov (English) or vacunas.gov (Spanish) to search for nearby locations to receive a vaccine.
Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines: Explains the safety, efficacy and side effects of COVID-19 vaccines with official CDC guidance and information (updated 08/12/21).
Understanding the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination: Explains the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the United States. This program is one component of the Federal government’s strategy to expand access to vaccines for the American public.
COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for School Settings and Childcare Programs: Provides COVID-19 vaccine information, as well as official CDC materials including posters, flyers, letters to staff, social media mesages, newsletter articles, and stickers, for staff in schools and childcare programs.
COVID-19 Vaccines for Teachers, School Staff, and Childcare Workers: Informs staff of the latest, official CDC information about how to get vaccinated.
FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine (Spanish language version): Reports formal approval (08/23/21) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age; and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use.
What FDA's Full Approval of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Means: Explains the parameters and significance of the 8/23/21 full authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The American Medical Association [AMA] report explains the Pfizer vaccine (will be marketed as Comirnaty) is fully approved for use in individuals ages 16 and older to prevent COVID-19 disease. A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation had found that 30% of unvaccinated people said they were waiting for COVID-19 vaccines to receive full approve before taking the next step to get vaccinated. A joint statement from the AMA, American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association states, “We are there now. This vaccine is fully approved. If uncertainty was holding you back, now is the time to act.”
Video Series: Communicating about Vaccines: Offers a series of short videos to help public health advocates, staff in local health departments, and others communicate more effectively about COVID-19 and how it intersects with other important public health issues. In the initial (4 minutes) video, Berkeley Media Studies Group [BMSG] offers strategic communication tips by investing in trusted messengers.
COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Cases: Data from the States: Provides state-level data on COVID-19 breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and deaths. While COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, a small share of fully vaccinated individuals do become infected. These rare “breakthrough cases” are expected, as no vaccine is 100% effective. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] presents aggregate data at the national level, this Kaiser Family Foundation site serves as a single repository for data by state on breakthrough infections that can support data-based decision-making indicated by federal guidance for schools and communities. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Vaccine Monitor presents data from an ongoing research project tracking the public’s attitudes and experiences with COVIED-19 vaccinations.
States Plan for Vaccinating Their Populations against COVID-19: Provides a compendium of every state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution and administration plans by Priority Phases, in light of current (2/19/21) federal guidance, and limited vaccine supplies. This state-by-state compendium is compiled and updated by the National Academy for State Health Policy [NASHP].
Tracking COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution by State: How Many People Have Been Vaccinated in the US?: Synthesizes and displays data originating at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] accounting for distribution and administration of doses of all three authorized vaccines (those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). The presentation is made and updated (11/01/21) by USA Today.
Understanding and Communicating about COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy, Effectiveness, and Equity: Summarizes social, behavioral, and decision science research relevant to communicating how well COVID-19 vaccines work, and how equitably they are being distributed. It offers practical strategies for both the process and the content of such communication, recognizing that people respond to both how they learn about something and what they learn about it. This rapid expert consultation was produced through the Societal Experts Action Network [SEAN] of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in affiliation with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
New Tool Tracks Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy Rates Across Geographies, Population Groups: Uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, which has recently added a new series of questions about COVID-19 vaccinations and attitudes toward them. This new Census Bureau data visualization tool aims to provide insights into the public’s feelings about COVID-19 vaccines in near real time. The interactive visualization allows data users to explore national and state vaccination rates; percentage of people by state hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine; most common reasons cited for hesitancy to get a vaccine; vaccination rates by population subgroups; and vaccine hesitancy rates by population subgroups. The data visualization tools will enable analysis of how vaccination and vaccine hesitance rates might vary over time.
Public Health Messaging Vital for COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake: Leaders Partnering on Communications: Reports recent findings from large-scale surveys detailing attitudes toward receiving or deferring acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination among various dimensions of the American public. Public health messengers are working with great urgency to persuade Americans to get immunized. A December survey from Kaiser Family Foundation found 71% of adults would get a COVID-19 vaccine that was determined safe by scientists and available for free; but more than a quarter were still hesitant.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update (5/10/21): FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Adolescents in Another Important Action in Fight Against Pandemic: Announces the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]’s expansion of emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock MD explained, “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”
Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers: Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-Biotech COVID-19 Vaccine To Prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Individuals 12 Years Of Age and Older: Provides information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] to help parents, caregivers, and recipients to understand the risks and benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. As of May 10, 2021 children and adolescents as young as age 12 may receive that vaccine to help control the current pandemic.
Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine: Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-Biotech COVID-19 Vaccine to Prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Updates instructions of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] for COVID-19 Vaccination Providers to reflect the FDA’s May 10, 2021 authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children and youth ages 12-15.
How School Districts Can Run a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic: Describes how the Anchorage, AK school district has assembled a large-scale community vaccination clinic that offers key lessons to other districts as they consider or plan to operate vaccination clinics.
Students and COVID-19 Vaccines: Can Schools Require Them, and Will They?: Discusses legal, political, and ethical questions involved in setting a new requirement, especially as COVID-19 vaccines are administered under an emergency-use authorization. Education Week notes that as younger children qualify for COVID-19 vaccines, public health officials are unsure of how many families will opt to have their children inoculated if the shots are not required for school attendance. Some health officials assert that providing incentives for voluntary shots might be a more effective way of encouraging broad acceptance than mandates. “There are a number of push and pull factors here,” according to one representative of the Vaccine Working Group on Ethics and Policy, a group of doctors and researchers from around the country that considers questions related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Innovative Resources Help Communicate, Educate Audiences on COVID-19 Vaccines: Science-Based Information Can be Used with General Public, Essential Workers, Health Professionals: Describes a 2021 campaign to provide Black communities with credible information about COVID-19 vaccines. The series is produced through a collaboration among the Kaiser Family Foundation and Black Coalition Against COVID. The campaign’s resource, the Conversation: Between Us, About Us, offers scores of FAQ videos on a range of topics, including how the vaccines were tested, and how Black people were included in research studies. The campaign, which will expand as new questions and information arise, is working with YouTube and Google to amplify its content and is planning to host live-streaming events as well. Its debut video with comedian W. Kamau Bell generated over 100,000 Twitter views in its first 24 hours; and features Black doctors, nurses and researchers dispelling misinformation and offering accessible facts about COVID-19 vaccines.
Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years or Younger — United States, 2023: Shares the newly updated 2023 child and adolescent immunization schedule, available on the CDC immunization schedule website (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules), summarizing Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP] recommendations. The immunization schedules summarize current vaccine recommendations for children, adolescents and adults, but do not set vaccine requirements for schools or workplaces. Key updates to the schedules, published by the CDC on 2/9/23, include the addition of COVID-19 primary vaccine series and recommendations on booster dose vaccination; updated guidance on influenza and pneumococcal vaccines; and new vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) and for hepatitis B. Health care providers are advised to use the tables, notes, and appendix together to determine recommended vaccinations for patient populations. This immunization schedule is recommended by ACIP (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip) and approved by CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Academy of Physician Associates, and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
Guide to Hosting COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics at School: Offers a resourceful toolkit from the US Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] to support school-based clinics to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in alignment with all pertinent CDC guidance. The toolkit supports a six-step process to get/keep school communities vaccinated, recognizing the potential to make vaccination convenient for eligible school staff, students, and other people in the community. The toolkit draws from strategies of thousands of schools nationwide that have successfully hosted vaccination clinics.
Department of Education Releases Resource to Help Schools Improve Ventilation Systems to Prevent COVID-19: Outlines how American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds can be used to improve indoor air quality to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide healthy learning environments. This resource is part of the Department of Education's broader efforts to support schools as they prepare to welcome students back to in-person learning this fall and build back better.
Getting Schools Ready for In-Person Learning: How to Plan and Execute a COVID-19 Mitigation Walkthrough: Presents a step-by-step guide to plan and execute a COVID-19 mitigation walkthrough, ensuring that school or district administrators are prepared to resume in-person learning at school buildings or campuses. Additional CDC guidance and tools are available on the Schools and Child Care Programs webpage.
Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes: Presents guidance jointly developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about appropriate methods to ensure safe, clean and sanitary environments including schools, homes and businesses.
Cleaning and Disinfecting - Best Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Presents clear and simple guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, April 2021) based on the CDC’s new (4/5/21) science brief, SARS-CoV-2 and Surface (Fomite) Transmission for Indoor Community Environments.
Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Discusses growing evidence that the COVID-19 virus can remain airborne for longer times and further distances than originally thought, and therefore the possibility that spread of COVID-19 may occur via airborne particles in indoor environments. This US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] website introduces steps that can be taken to reduce potential airborne transmission related to the layout and design of buildings, occupancy, and types of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. EPA recommends increasing ventilation with outdoor air and air filtration to supplement social distancing, wearing cloth face coverings or masks, surface cleaning and disinfecting, handwashing, and other precautions. A related page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is also provided.
How to Clean and Disinfect Schools to Help Slow the Spread of the Flu (Spanish language version): Shares specific guidance from the CDC for cleaning and disinfecting as part of a broad approach to preventing spread of infectious diseases in school.
6 Steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use: Provides a one-page poster from the EPA to guide schools’ use of disinfectants to ensure a healthy indoor environment for students, teachers, custodians, and staff.
Best Safety and Hygiene Practices for Public Workspaces in the COVID-19 Environment: Explores the challenges of operating workplaces with a public interaction component in the COVID-19 environment. This 1-hour webinar recording (6/23/20), sharing specific, practical guidance, was produced by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine [NASEM], and features the Federal Facilities Council, a cooperative association of more than 20 federal agencies committed to identifying and advancing technologies, processes and practices that improve the management, operations and evaluation of federal facilities. Dr. Nancy Burton from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health discusses how to physically prepare facilities (including school campuses) for reopening and operations; and Ms. Robin Coyne, CIH from Spike Occupational Health & Safety, LLC discusses practical considerations that will arise when the public begins entering a facility.
List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-02 (COVID-19): Lists products that meet criteria of the EPA for cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing facilities, equipment, supplies and products.
Rooted in Research: Reducing Virus Transmission, Improving Ventilation and Promoting Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in Schools: Provides a recording of the April 8, 2021 webinar presentation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] that addressed four learning objectives: 1. apply research-based guidance that reflects the latest scientific understanding of COVID-19 transmission; 2. implement layered risk reduction strategies and IAQ management best practices for building operations to reduce the risk of virus exposure and promote healthy indoor air that is foundational to student health, thinking and academic performance; 3. use a variety of tools and calculators to assess ventilation rates in classrooms using a five-step guide and prioritize activities to improve ventilation, increase filter efficiency and supplement with portable air cleaners; and 4. replicate best practices used by a school district champion to establish an IAQ management plan, motivate leadership and fellow team members, and implement the tools and strategies provided to create a healthier environment for students and staff.
Considerations for Case Investigation and Contact Tracing in K-12 Schools and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs): Provides most recent revision (8/5/21) to federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for K–12 schools and institutions of higher education, including considerations for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and situations when K–12 students are not considered close contacts.
What School Nutrition Professionals Need to Know about COVID-19: Presents key points from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] about the importance of school lunch and breakfast programs, and guidance about social distancing and sanitation practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among employees preparing and serving meals, and the students, families, and other school staff who support or participate in school meals programs. Programs should visit Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools for guiding principles and guidance on prevention strategies to use when school is open. Programs should visit Modifying School Spaces During Mealtimes to Reduce Spread of COVID-19 for information on adapting school spaces for mealtimes to prevent COVID-19. Program operators can also post this checklist of key COVID-19 prevention strategies in areas where meals are prepared and served.
Toolkit for Responding to COVID-19 Cases: Provides clear CDC guidance for K-12 school administrators to respond quickly when someone with COVID-19 has been in the school or at a school event. In such instances, case investigation and contact tracing serve as important strategies for reducing the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. The toolkit includes decision trees/flow charts, and customizable letters, as well as FAQs for isolation and quarantine.
COVID-19 Prevention Guidance for Youth and Student Programs: Outlines the practical application of prevention strategies (e.g. social distancing) to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in youth and student programs. This guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Schools and Childcare Programs.
Guidance for Implementing COVID-19 Prevention Strategies in the Context of Varying Community Transmission Levels and Vaccination Coverage: Provides the scientific basis for updated guidance (07-27-21) from the CDC’s COVID-19 Response Team that local decision-makers should assess the following factors to inform the need for layered prevention strategies across a range of settings: level of SARS-CoV-2 community transmission, health system capacity, vaccination coverage, capacity for early detection of increases in COVID-19 cases, and populations at risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19. during June 19–July 23, 2021, COVID-19 cases increased approximately 300% nationally, followed by increases in hospitalizations and deaths, driven by the highly transmissible B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant* of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Although increasing COVID-19 vaccination coverage remains the most effective means to achieve control of the pandemic, additional layered prevention strategies will be needed in the short-term to minimize preventable morbidity and mortality.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Key Preparedness and Response Considerations Fact Sheet: Offers 6 implementation tips to support the use of face masks and PPE in the K-12 learning setting.
Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives: Provides official science-based guidance from the CDC about when and how to wash one’s hands to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other infections. This website presents clear instructions for students, parents and other caregivers (e.g. school staff), explains the science that supports the instructions, and introduces CDC’s Life Is Better with Clean Hands social marketing campaign materials to support dissemination of this important public health information. Many materials/contents are suitable for direct teaching to K-12 students.
Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19: Provides practical information and guidance (updated 08/12/21) about the use of cloth face coverings to slow and prevent the spread of infections like COVID-19, including particular considerations for children, and for people with special health care needs. The CDC cites this information from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases in its Readiness and Planning Tool.
Mask Exemptions: Which Students Really Need Them and How Are Parents Getting Them?: Discusses different perspectives of parents, health care providers and public health officials about masking mandates for students and school staff, and presents a state-by-state “school mask mandates at a glance” table. The American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] recommend universal masking indoors for grades K-12, based on “new evidence” about the highly contagious delta variant. The AAP recommends masks “because a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines, and masking is proven to reduce transmission of the virus and to protect those who are not vaccinated.” Children under 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine.
Governor's School Mask Directive (Montana): Directs wearing of face coverings in certain indoor and outdoor settings, including public and private K-12 schools, with limited flexibility in specified circumstances when social distancing can provide sufficient protection. This example of a statewide directive about face coverings was extended and adapted by Montana’s Governor on 8/27/20 for the duration of the public health emergency.
Do Face Shields Protect Against COVID-19? A Mask and Shield Explainer: Explains how mask wearing has been shown to reduce the spread of the virus, particularly in conjunction with social distancing and regular hand and surface cleaning. This Education Week product references CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, and acknowledges and addresses drawbacks in educational settings, offering practical guidance to educators based on the most recent available science.
Masks for Prevention of COVID-19 in Community and Healthcare Settings: A Living Rapid Review: Informs practice pointers developed by the American College of Physicians with up-to-date evidence through regular search of the literature and review of findings of emerging studies. The US DHHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ] established this “rapid evidence product” in recognition that the field is currently struggling with urgent questions about how to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Health and service systems, clinicians, policymakers, and the general public want timely, credible evidence to inform critical decisions. In the face of a rapidly changing field amid an ongoing pandemic, AHRQ’s Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) will continue to update this review when report findings change as a result of new research.
FDA Advises Consumers Not to Use Hand Sanitizer Products Manufactured by Eskbiochem: Advises consumers to avoid hand sanitizer products sold by this manufacturer, whose products can be toxic when absorbed through the skin, or ingested. The Food and Drug Administration [FDA] issued this advisory on 6/29/20.
COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs: Provides up-to-date (01/28/22) guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to support health and well-being of young children and early childhood program personnel. This updated guidance for Early Care and Education (ECE) programs, including child care centers, home-based programs and family child care, Head Start, and other pre-kindergarten programs, outlines strategies for ECE programs to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe operations. This guidance considers current scientific evidence and lessons learned from schools and ECE programs implementing COVID-19 prevention strategies.
Office of Child Care: COVID-19 Page: Shares a library of resources from the Office of Early Childhood Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support vaccine outreach.
What Bus Transit Operators Need to Know about COVID-19: Offers official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] for bus operators about how COVID can spread, ways to protect themselves, and cope with stress.
Order: Wearing of Face Masks While on the Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs: Provides detailed requirements from CDC that can guide implementation of the Return to School Roadmap’s key step, Help Students and Families Access Safe Transportation to School. “Wearing masks on school buses is mandatory, per CDC.”
Safety Considerations for the Transportation of Students During COVID-19 Crisis: Offers concrete steps school districts should take to plan for and ensure safe transportation of students to and from school activities. This National Education Association [NEA] publication endorses planning based on surveyed need/demand for transportation, families’ capacities to provide transportation for some students, CDC physical distancing guidelines, EPA guidance regarding cleaning and sanitation, and particular considerations for students with special needs.
CTAA Recommended COVID-19 Safety Protocols: Provides guidance and relevant resources from the Community Transportation Association of America [CTAA] about COVID-19 safety protocols including information for masking (for passengers and drivers), at-risk drivers, driver compartment barriers, and vehicle/transit facility disinfecting.
National Association for Pupil Transportation [NAPT] - COVID-19: Provides the pupil transportation industry with timely, useful information related to COVID-19. NAPT offers general guidance, drawn from CDC lists and from the National Association of School Nurses [NASN]; and features an archive of webinars providing information to support safe and sanitary pupil transportation, including several that focus on the particular importance and challenges regarding transportation of students with special needs.
Department of Education Transportation Offices: Lists, in a single place, hyperlinks to the student transportation offices of each state education agency [SEA].
COVID-19 Resources for Student Transporters: Lists links to federal government, national association and industry websites responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources are posted in Student Transportation News [STN], a monthly business-to-business news magazine serving the field of pupil transportation as part of its mission to create content, community, and commerce to support the school transportation industry in getting students to and from school safely and efficiently.
State Guidance on Reopening Schools Post-COVID-19: Shares recommendations developed by nearly every state regarding social distancing, and the need for additional cleaning, especially for high-touch areas. Most social distancing guidelines on school buses restate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] recommendations, that students should be seated one per seat, skipping rows. Many states also link to the cleaning and disinfecting guidance issued by the CDC on bus transit operators for cleaning school buses.
STARTS (Student Transportation Aligned for Return to School) Guidelines, Tactics and Templates: Offers a school reopening planning resource for school transportation professionals. The Student Transportation Aligned for Return To School (STARTS) Task Force was formed as a partnership among the National School Transportation Association [NSTA], the National Association for Pupil Transportation [NAPT], and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services [NASDPTS]. The task force, during 2020-21, developed materials to support the school bus industry’s response to the challenges of school reopening in the context of COVID-19.
Here's One Way to Keep School Buses Safe During the Pandemic: Reports on the measured effectiveness of layered strategies of universal masking, ventilation and cleaning buses that has limited transmission of COVID-19 among students in a closely monitored study in Virginia. ““There was no evidence of COVID-19 transmission during bus transport, even at distances of 2.5 feet, with two-thirds of bus routes at full student capacity, and during the highest community incidence rates of COVID-19, which were 53.2 to 525.7 per 100,000 population,” researchers from Eastern Virginia Medical School found.
Recognizing Innovation in Student Transportation During COVID-19: Shares exemplary strategies used by two recognized school systems (Arlington Heights, IL and Detroit, MI) for leveraging student transportation technology to creatively serve their school families and communities.
CARES Act Funds Student Accountability, COVID-19 Cleaning on Georgia School Buses: Describes how the Marietta (GA) City Schools used Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to install ionization units and student RIFD card readers, to increase bus cleaning and student accountability, respectively. Director of Transportation Kimberly Ellis said the 9,000-student district immediately responded to the pandemic last year by purchasing technology that ensured both student and staff safety.
Returning to School: Mitigation and Mental Health Strategies: Presents archived recording, slides and transcript of January 13, 2021 national webinar by the Centers for Disease Control on how to optimize mitigation strategies and mental health to facilitate a safe return to schools in this new year. The presentation included 1) user-friendly tools and information for schools to inform the selection and implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies; and 2) information about how to support and promote mental health for students and school staff, both in-person and virtually.
Selected Return to School Resources: Offers an extensive list of information resources from national organizations and agencies to support planning and preparation for return to in-person learning for K-12 students in 2021-22. To support efficient navigation, the Department of Education’s Comprehensive Center National Network provides short descriptions of each hyperlinked document.
Monthly School Survey Dashboard (Institute of Education Sciences): Provides monthly data from 46 states describing the degree to which schools offer remote-only, hybrid or full-time in-person instruction; the proportion of students enrolled in each instructional modality; the attendance rate for each modality, disaggregated by various student groups; and teacher vaccination rates. Recent data published by ED’s Institute of Education Sciences found that, in April 2021, 59% of K-8 schools were offering in-person instruction full time, up from 46% since January 2021.
Special Report: How We Go Back to School: Presents a broad spectrum of options for how to open and operate schools during the COVID-19 national emergency, through interviews with dozens of public health experts, consultants, and frontline educators. In this multi-part series Education Week explores specific strategies that some districts will adopt, and explain the pros, the cons, and the costs.
Restructuring California Schools to Address Barriers to Learning and Teaching in the COVID-19 Context and Beyond: Highlights ways to systematically transform how schools address the overlapping learning, behavioral, and emotional problems that can interfere with learning and teaching. This brief, produced for Policy Analysis for California Education [PACE] by co-directors of UCLA’s Center for Mental Health in Schools, provides a blueprint to enable the state, local education agencies (LEAs) and schools to play a greater role in providing student and learning supports, in ways that enhance equity of opportunity. (The content is applicable in any state, not only in California.)
The Return: How Should Education Leaders Prepare for Reentry and Beyond?: Offers and supports four major recommendations for school leaders to prepare for students’ return to school in the aftermath of the national COVID-19 emergency. This report is a collaboration between Chiefs for Change, a nonprofit, bipartisan network of state and district education chiefs; and the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Education Policy.
The Economics of Transitioning from Remote to In-Person School: 3 District Planning Levers for Increasing In-Person Learning (When It's Safe): Identifies four “starting points” to help district leadership teams plan, navigate, and effectively implement these transitions when the time is right for their public health context. This resource from the Education Resource Strategies also describes three design levers that can enable school districts to serve more students in smaller group sizes, and discusses trade-offs associated with each.
Behavioral Health Impacts During & After COVID-19: What to Expect and Ways to Prepare for the Return to In-Person Learning: Presents information about what to expect as students return to school for 2021-22 school year, and ways to prepare at the staff, building, and district levels. This (April 2021) document updates an initial product developed for Washington’s state education agency by the University of Washington School Mental Health Assessment, Research, and Training [SMART] Center, Seattle Children's Hospital, and the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports in June 2020. This update includes new information gleaned about the youth mental health crisis, as well as additional recommendations and considerations to keep in mind as schools bring students back into the school building in a way that prioritizes everyone's mental health and wellness.
Recognizing the Role of Afterschool and Summer Programs and Systems in Reopening and Rebuilding: Describes the role that afterschool and summer programs and systems can play in conjoint strategies with school leaders to support youth, families and communities to prepare for and accomplish school reopening. This succinct brief by the American Institutes for Research explains how afterschool and summer programs can contribute to such strategies, illuminates examples from the field, and identifies numerous resources that can help programs and practitioners to capitalize on opportunities to rebuild and return even stronger than before COVID-19.
Getting Back to School after Disruptions: Resources for Making Your School Year Safer, More Predictable, and More Positive: Describes how multi-tiered systems of supports [MTSS], such as PBIS, are ideal frameworks for implementing strategies to support students coming back to school after experiencing trauma from public health crises, weather disasters, or other upsetting events that may have exposed them to unpredictable schedules, inconsistent supervision, food insecurity or other disruption. Students in such circumstances desperately need school to be a safe, predictable and positive setting. This practice guide, updated by the Center on PBIS to reflect the current COVID-19 pandemic, recommends six strategies for school teams to ensure a safe, predictable, and positive school year.
Reopening Schools after COVID-19 Closures: Explores options to assist state education leaders’ decision-making about these key questions: (1) When and how should schools reopen, once it is safe from a health perspective to do so?, (2) What could school schedule, student placement and staffing options look like when schools reopen?, and (3) How should we provide support to students (particularly those most in-need) as schools reopen? This toolkit will be frequently updated.
COVID-19 and Whole Child Efforts: Describes the importance of attending to the basic needs and well being of children and youth as central to supporting their success in school, and the particular salience of that holistic approach for supporting students’ return to classrooms in the aftermath of the COVID-19 national emergency. This brief from the American Institutes for Research defines key themes and terms to support shared understanding across community and school system leaders, and crosswalks prominent guidance for school reopening to the related Whole Child framework concepts.
Free Back-to-School Templates for Teachers and Families: Provides a set of customizable templates intended to support teachers, students and their families during the transition back to in-person learning. Common Sense Education observes that, with distance learning, many routines may have fallen by the wayside… but that doesn't mean you can't bring them back this year.” This collection offers customizable templates to help teachers (re-)establish norms and expectations for in-person learning, provide families with an overview of class goals for the 2021-22 year, and provide families some support in the transition back to in-person learning.
Five Ways to Talk with Students Returning After Pandemic Closures: Presents five common situations educators may see more of due to the stresses of the pandemic, as well as five ways to spark critical conversations with students. This guide hopes to encourage effective conversation in stressful situations through building a trusting relationship.
An Initial Guide to Leveraging the Power of Social and Emotional Learning as You Prepare to Reopen and Renew Your School Community: Shares actionable recommendations to help school leadership teams plan for the social emotional learning [SEL] needs of all students and adults during the upcoming transition into summer and the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. This guide positions SEL as a critical underpinning to the success of overall transition planning, recognizing school leaders have multiple other considerations for reopening schools, including academics, operations, access to technology, and physical health.
Analysis of School Reopening Plans: Explores education recovery plans put forth by states, territories, and national organizations, to examine the ways these plans are designed to support students and teachers. This tracker, a product of Johns Hopkins University’s eSchool+ Initiative, notes only whether provisions addressing each of 12 criteria are/are not present. (As reopening plans are currently dynamic, this ongoing analysis offers a view of state recovery plans as a snapshot in time; there may have been changes or updates to these plans since this analysis was conducted.)
Threats of Student Violence and Misbehavior Are Rising, Many School Leaders Report: Reports and discusses findings of December 2021 survey of more than 1,000 K-12 educators and school leaders that correlate significant uptick in student threats and misbehavior with extensive hybrid and remote learning throughout the pandemic, compared to 2019. According to the Ed Week Research Center, 51% of principals and district leaders in districts in which nearly all the learning was remote or hybrid in 2020-21 reported rising rates of student threats of violence. The comparable rate was 30% for school and district leaders where most learning was in person last year. Over 70% reported a marked increase in student misbehavior this year in districts that offered mostly remote or hybrid instruction last school year, compared with 52% from districts that had offered mostly in-person instruction the previous year.
Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time: Offers strategies to support state and local efforts in effectively using ARP ESSER funds to address the impact of lost instructional time on underserved and disproportionately impacted students. This resource was issued by the US Department of Education (August 2021) to complement its COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs. Three focal strategies include: 1. Reengaging students in their learning including by meeting the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students and through such approaches as tutoring and creative staffing; 2. Providing information and assistance to families as they support students, including through home visits and information sharing; and 3. Using high-quality assessments to inform teaching and learning, including acceleration, and target resources and supports.
Addressing Learning Loss through Mental Health Supports: Compiles recommendations from experts in the field on why and how to address the mental health needs of students as schools reopen. The best way schools can help students catch up academically after a year of distance learning is to ensure they feel relaxed, safe, and connected to their friends and teachers as they return to the classroom.
Planning for a Pivotal School Year - A K-12 Leader's Guide to Get Ready for 2021-22: Provides a four-part series of selected contributions by Education Week journalists to help educators address uncertainties in the 2021-22 academic year ahead. How hard will it be for students to re-acclimate to full-time, in-person learning? How must teachers adapt instruction for the moment we are in? How can schools be ready to address the widening social-emotional and mental-health needs of students and employees? How will schools evolve their use of educational technology and remote learning for new realities? The four segments will focus on: best uses of the summer months; student well-being; instructional imperatives; and where we will go next with virtual learning.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Engage Every Student Initiative to Ensure Every Student Has Access to High-Quality Learning: Announces (07/14/22) the Department of Education’s Engage Every Student Initiative to support President Biden’s call for schools to use American Rescue Plan funds to support summer learning and afterschool programs. This initiative will help communities utilize American Rescue Plan funds alongside other state and local funds to ensure that every child who wants a spot in a high-quality out-of-school time (OST) program has one. Secretary Miguel Cardona’s announcement coincided with National Summer Learning Week
Engage Every Student: Provides a hub of technical assistance support to provide schools and communities with connections and assistance they may need to expand access to afterschool and summer learning programs. Through the American Rescue Plan, school districts, cities and states have been funded to partner with high-quality expanded learning programs to support students’ well-being and academic growth. The U.S. Department of Education has partnered with the Afterschool Alliance, AASA, the School Superintendents Association, National League of Cities, National Summer Learning Association, and the National Comprehensive Center to provide this technical assistance hub.
Monthly School Survey Dashboard: Provides insights into learning opportunities offered by schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Five consecutive monthly surveys (February through June 2021), conducted by ED’s Institute for Education Sciences [IES], support the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers. Results from this pilot survey will also be available for analyzing the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data—contributing additional contextual factors for understanding educational outcomes of the nation's fourth- and eighth-grade students.
Education Department Kicks Off Summer Learning Collaborative: Announces the launch of ED’s Summer Learning and Enrichment Collaborative to support states and school districts as they develop out-of-school time programs in the upcoming months, relying on funding designated for this purpose in the American Rescue Plan Act. School districts must use at least 20 percent of their funding from that relief package to address learning recovery for students. ED has launched the collaborative along with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association. The collaborative is also drawing on the Comprehensive Center Network, a professional learning community supporting state and local education agencies, for support.
Data and Policy to Guide Opening Schools Safely to Limit the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Summarizes global data about SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks at K-12 schools, and emphasizes school-based policies shown to diminish spread of infection. Three CDC authors inform this JAMA Viewpoint that “the preponderance of available evidence has been reassuring” that rapid spread of the virus has not been reported as many schools have reopened for in-person instruction, and there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission. The authors affirm that all recommended mitigation measures in schools must continue: requiring universal face mask use, increasing physical distance by de-densifying classrooms and common areas, using hybrid attendance models when needed to limit the total number of contacts and prevent crowding, increasing room air ventilation, and expanding screening testing to rapidly identify and isolate asymptomatic infected individuals. Staff and students should continue to have options for online education, particularly those at increased risk of severe illness or death if infected with SARS-CoV-2.
COVID View: A Weekly Surveillance of U.S. COVID-19 Activity: Presents the nation’s official weekly surveillance data for COVID-19 including infections, hospitalizations and deaths. In addition, disaggregates data along numerous demographic dimensions including by state, by age, by gender, and by race/ethnicity. Data are based on COVID-19 case-level data reported by state and territorial jurisdictions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. The numbers are confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases as reported by U.S. states, U.S. territories, New York City, and the District of Columbia from the previous day.
Tracking U.S. COVID-19 Cases, Deaths and Other Metrics by State: Provides data gathered by The Washington Post from local and state government sites and from Johns Hopkins University (cases and deaths), the Department of Health and Human Services (hospitalization and testing) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (vaccinations). “No numbers can fully convey the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, but several metrics taken together provide a clearer view of what is happening now and what may be coming soon.” The Washington Post provides these charts for free so that all readers have access to this important information about the coronavirus. Interested persons can also sign up for the Washington Post’s free Coronavirus Updates newsletter.
COVID Data Tracker [CDC]: Provides maps and charts tracking COVID-19 infections, deaths, and trends across the United States. The site offers state-level, regional and even county-level views of key data for monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for exploration of standardized data across the country. Footnotes describe each data source and the methods used for calculating the metrics. Data is updated daily by 8 pm ET.
COVID-19 Demographic and Economic Resources - United States Census Bureau: Presents selected U.S. Census Bureau demographic and economic data to help guide decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data are presented in interactive maps and downloadable resources that users can incorporate directly into their research and data products. The demographic, socio-economic, and housing data come from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The site features county-level Community Resilience Estimates.
2021 Kids Count Data Book - State Trends in Child Well-Being: Provides an annual state-by-state data set for 16 indicators of child well-being, spanning four domains of economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s data book includes analysis of national and state-by-state trends on each measure and includes related policy recommendations. The 2021 Data Book and report present the most recent information available, while admittedly offering only a limited assessment of the impact of the pandemic that whose longer-term effects will become increasingly evident in the year ahead.
Phase 2 Restart and Recovery: Highlights healthy and safe protocols for reopening schools, parent and family engagement supports, and guidance on trauma-informed social and emotional learning. The Council of Chief State School Officer’s [CCSSO] Restart and Recovery plan is intended to support complex planning and preparation demands on states as they restart schools and recover student learning.
COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry: Lists and describes numerous factors that should influence and shape collaborative decision-making among school districts, state and local health departments to facilitate a safe and appropriate return to in-person school for K-12 students. This resource, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, focuses especially on student-centered and on environmental considerations, and provides a curated set of resources from both AAP and CDC to support preparations for returning to school.
Evaluating Data Types: A Guide for Decision Makers Using Data to Understand the Extent and Spread of COVID-19: Aims to help leaders and decision makers to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of data on the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities by applying a set of criteria to available types of data available to support decision making (e.g. about the timing, pace and nature of school re-opening). This product of the Societal Experts Action Network of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine examines seven data types: the number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, reported confirmed COVID-19 deaths, excess deaths, fraction of viral tests that are positive, and representative prevalence surveys (including both viral and antibody tests). Because any single data type is likely to yield an under- or over- estimate of the extent and spread of the disease, it is important to consider multiple data types and be cautious in relying on estimates without considering sources of bias.
Transitioning from CDC's Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making (released September 15, 2020) to CDC's Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation (released February 12, 2021) to Reduce COVID-19: Presents a variety of decisions about in-person learning as local conditions evolve throughout the pandemic. When coupled with local data about community spread, these indicators can assist local health officials, school administrators, and communities prepare, plan, and respond to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Demographic and Economic Resources, U.S. Census Bureau: Presents selected Census Bureau demographic and economic data to help guide decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Census Bureau also provides a Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] guide to the COVID-19 data hub.
Burbio's K-12 School Opening Tracker: Audits a comprehensive set of K-12 learning plans (i.e., virtual, traditional in-person, and hybrid) across districts representing 3,000 US counties, including the 200 largest school districts. District plans are reviewed every 72 hours to identify changes. School districts in the data set are a mix of sizes and are distributed nationally to represent local decision-making across the country.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic - Data Hub V 2.1: Provides official economic, demographic and American Community Survey [ACS] data from the U.S. Census Bureau that can help inform COVID-19 policy- and operational decision-making.
COVID-19 After Action Review Toolkit: Offers a toolkit that can help organizations reflect, assess, learn, and improve. Organizations can use the review tool retrospectively to assess previous activities; and can also use it to guide in-action reviews of ongoing activities. Mathematica and the Public Health Foundation collaboratively developed this toolkit to help organizations conduct effective, equitable, and trauma-informed After Action reviews.
State Policies/Statements on Re-Opening: Provides a list of hyperlinks to policy documents or news stories from every state describing their school reopening plans and actions (collected during July 2020).
OESE Back to School Success Stories: Presents a catalogue of testimonials written and submitted by parents, teachers, school officials, and community members sharing their positive experience bringing students back to school in the wake of COVID-19-related school disruptions and closings. (OESE welcomes submittal of additional submittals. Please reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
NGA Education’s State Reopening Tracking: Indicates actions that states have taken to reopen educational settings, including childcare settings, camps and summer school programming, K-12 schools, and postsecondary institutions. The included chart displays an evolving analysis of reopening in the education sector but is not exhaustive of statewide actions. The list addresses statewide guidance but does not address K-12 school or school district level guidance.
Colorado: Planning the 2020-21 School Year: Serves as a statewide hub for communication, including a statewide framework and toolkit for school and district leaders, to support school districts’ provision and continuity of learning for the 2020-21 school year.
Returning to School During and After Crisis: A Guide to Supporting States, Districts, Schools, Educators, and Students through a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Framework during the 2020-2021 School Year: Describes the use of a multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework to support students, families, and educators during the transitions back to school during and following the global pandemic in a manner that prioritizes their health and safety, social and emotional needs, and behavioral and academic growth.
Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021: Provides official estimates of school crime and safety from a variety of data sources, including national surveys of students, teachers, principals, and post-secondary institutions. It presents data on different types of student victimization, measures of school conditions, and student perceptions about their personal safety at school. This report is the 24th in a series of annual publications produced jointly by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Institute of Education Sciences, in the Department of Education.
Seven Ways Schools Can Maintain Supportive Climates: A positive school climate is crucially important to school success. Climate affects attendance, engagement, learning and even graduation rates. This infographic provided in English and Spanish by the Region III Equity Assistance Center, IDRA EAC-South shares ways that school districts can ensure safe and supportive campus climates for students, teachers, staff and families during this pandemic.
Back to School Blitz: Strategies for Improving Attendance in the First Three Months of School: Provided a 1-hour webinar presentation (08/25/22) featuring U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten and presenters from ED’s Student Engagement and Attendance Center and Attendance Works. exploring attendance, absenteeism, and student engagement. Presenters shared data on the issue of chronic absenteeism, including post-pandemic trends, root causes, and impacts on learning and achievement; and offered actionable strategies for improving attendance and engaging students and families.
Best Practice Guide: Five Ways to Talk with Students Returning After Pandemic Closures: Describes five common situations educators might expect to see, due to the stresses of the pandemic, as students return to school, and offers five ways educators can start a one-to-one conversation to help understand what’s underlying a student’s behavior, based on those situations. This tip sheet was developed by Kognito, and draws from the American Academy of Pediatrics and adaptations of evidence-based motivational interviewing (MI).
What Students Are Saying about What It's Like to Be Back in School: Provides a variety of first-person insights by high school students as part of the New York Times’ Learning Network series, Current Events Conversation. Many teenagers are back in school for the first time since March 2020. Some are thrilled to be with their peers and teachers again, while others have had a hard time adjusting. But most agreed that going back to school in an ongoing pandemic feels “far from normal.”
How Bad Is Student Absenteeism Right Now? Educators Tell Us: Reports findings from an online survey administered by the Ed Week Research Center during the second half of December 2021 to which 1,200 teachers, principals, and district leaders responded. A little over 60% of educators reported that student absenteeism is higher this winter than it was in the fall of 2019, adding new urgency to questions about how to care for students who are struggling with trauma and illness during the pandemic, and how to catch them up academically. These findings echo statewide drops in attendance that have already been reported in many states and districts. Many districts also report more students have become chronic absentees (i.e., those who miss more than 10-15% of school days).
American Rescue Plan Funds Can Transform Education for Young Adults: Delineates program and funding strategies states can adopt to effectively support students who are in great need. This brief from JFF Foundation and the National Governors Association [NGA] explains the American Rescue Plan Act [ARPA] opportunities states now have to use federal stimulus funds to create innovative educational programs to support students who have fallen behind, or have disappeared from schooling altogether during the COVID-19 pandemic. The brief shows how LEAs can partner with local employers, community colleges, alternative high schools, training programs and other community-based organizations to provide pathways and supports that connect disconnected youth to build college- and career readiness skills.
Social Isolation and Loneliness: State Policies and Interventions for the Post-COVID Era: Identifies avenues for policy development include creating social-emotional learning curricula, providing psychiatric services via telehealth in schools, addressing the social isolation of those in geographically isolated professions, and training teachers to identify social isolation and other warning signs in their students and attending to the shortage of mental health providers. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated what was already an epidemic of social isolation and loneliness.” This resource from Council of State Governments (October 2021) also discusses “therapeutic and pharmaceutical solutions” in the companion product, Supplemental Research Guide on Social Isolation.
Addressing Student Re-Engagement in the Time of COVID-19 -- Resource Guide: Highlights emerging strategies, tools, frameworks, and policy guidance to address the subset of students considered missing or “non-contactable” since March 2020 who need reengagement. On behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families, and the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Coalition for Community Schools intend for readers to “blend and braid” the included strategies and tools to match each community’s unique needs, cultures, and priorities.
Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism in the COVID Era: Provides ideas and strategies from FutureEd and Attendance Works for addressing absenteeism during distance learning. Attendance Works has recently added a new implementation guide.
Re-engaging Disconnected Students Online and at School: Focus on Intrinsic Motivation: Presents practice notes from UCLA’s Center for Mental Health in Schools and Student Learning Supports that consider numerous options for reconnecting with students and then sustaining their involvement in instruction. Favored strategies should be predicated on and understanding that students who are intrinsically motivated to learn are most likely to seek out opportunities and challenges and go beyond requirements, in contrast to those who are extrinsically motivated. Practices should appeal to students’ fundamental personal needs to feel self-determining, competent, and related to others; and should avoid over-reliance on “extrinsics” (rewards and punishments) that can undermine intrinsic motivation.
Family Support Toolbox (Louisiana Dept. of Education): Offers parents of Louisiana’s K-12 students with a toolbox and information to empower them to decide the best education for their children. A family support library, an easily navigated set of current school information, guidance about student assessments and state tests, back-to-school guides in numerous languages (Arabic, Spanish, Vietnamese), and special sections on college and career preparation, as well as for students with disabilities, provide parents with extensive information to support their substantial and constructive engagement in their children’s learning, especially in light of continuing challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preventing A Lost School Year Guide: The Crucial Importance of Motivating Students & Engaging Families: Asserts “six essentials for motivating and supporting students,” and links directly to several guides and other supportive resources addressing grading practices, student advisement, social-emotional learning for students, and family engagement tools. Although originally prepared in advance of the 2020-21 school year, this guide developed by the Stand for Children Leadership Center includes strategies that remain pertinent in 2021-22.
Students Need Emotional Support When Returning to School in Person. Here's How: Offers six recommendations from a licensed professional school counselor in the District of Columbia about ways that schools can prioritize students’ emotional well-being as they resume in-person classes.
Back-to-School Checklist for Parents (U.S. Department of Education): Offers parents a checklist they can use to ask school leaders during back-to-school and beyond about how they are supporting students, including by using American Rescue Plan [ARP] funds. The strategies in this checklist are ones that support students’ learning, mental health, and overall well-being. While not all school leaders and teachers may know how specific programs at their school are funded, they can tell you if these effective strategies are in place.
Transitioning Back to School: Tips for Parents: Discusses tips for parents for resetting their children's routines. This 2-minute video is one of many resources from the Center for Child Counseling intended to offer and support practical parenting strategies on behalf of young children and adolescents.
School Attendance and Family Engagement: Offers a set of downloadable resources to support an “Enroll, Engage, Attend” campaign to promote improved school attendance for K-12 students in Kansas City, MO. Turn the Page KC has partnered with the United Way of Greater Kansas City to promote a public awareness campaign focused on school attendance. A strong example of community collaboration and strategic communication, this campaign has produced an impressive set of short videos, fact sheets, talking points, PowerPoint slide sets, social media content, and brochures (English and Spanish).
Catalyzing Family, School, and Community Partnerships: Reports about the work of 12 statewide family engagement centers [SFEC] funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement [NAFSCE] is a membership association focused on advancing family, school, and community engagement. This report highlights services and resources the SFECs are providing to families, practitioners, community stakeholders and state leaders in AZ, CT, HI, KY, MD, MA, PA, MN, NE, OH, SC, SD, and WV. It provides insight into how the centers have supported their constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Diverse approaches for meeting family engagement needs can serve as models for other states, districts, and schools to learn from and replicate.
National Association for Family, School & Community Engagement [NAFSCE] - School Reopening Webpage: Presents policy recommendations on engaging families in school re-opening, and key findings of a national survey on family engagement during COVID-19, championing the perspectives of parents/families to shape school reopening strategies and actions in this unique new school year.
Communicating with Your Audience During COVID-19: Five Essential Tips: Highlights useful tips for thinking through the elements of communicating during a crisis that can be used for family engagement.
Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians and Caregivers: Provides up-to-date checklists for parents/families to plan and prepare for students’ return to academic learning in 2021-22. This CDC site provides guidance, checklists and action steps to support planning for in-person classes and for virtual or at-home learning. Planning considerations address both physical health and safety steps, and mental health and social-emotional well-being considerations. It also links to several resources to help parents navigate stress and uncertainty related to COVID-19 and their students’ school activities.
COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry: Lists and describes numerous factors that should influence and shape collaborative decision-making among school districts, state and local health departments to facilitate a safe and appropriate return to in-person school for K-12 students. This resource, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, focuses especially on student-centered and on environmental considerations, and provides a curated set of resources from both AAP and CDC to support preparations for returning to school.
Leveraging the Power of Social Emotional Learning as You Prepare to Reopen and Renew Your School Community: Shares a framework with actionable recommendations to help school leadership teams plan for the social emotional learning [SEL] needs of all students and adults during the beginning of the new school year. This CASEL guide positions SEL as a critical underpinning to the success of transition planning, recognizing school leaders have multiple other considerations for reopening schools, including academics, operations, access to technology, and physical health.
Schools' First and Forever Responders: Preparing and Supporting Teachers: Elevates a rationale and considerations for evidence-based strategies and innovative approaches to support teachers and teacher candidates during and following the COVID-19 crisis. Because teachers are the most vital in-school education resource, supporting the teacher workforce through the disruptions created by COVID-19 is essential to ensure continuity of learning for students. Each consideration highlighted in the brief is supported by research or examples from states or districts that can be helpful to learn more and guide decision-making.
National Center for Systematic Improvement Webinar Series: Strategic Resource Management in Response to COVID-19: Archives a series of recorded webinars featuring experts who share best practices to help state education leadership teams to make informed decisions and best utilize available resources during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
COVID-19 Resource Guide for High School Professionals: Furnishes a substantial set of resources created or curated by the JED Foundation to support educators’ efforts to help students to maintain mental and emotional health while they strive to maintain focus on their studies.
Building Developmental Relationships During the COVID-19 Crisis - CHECKLIST: Presents relationship-building steps informed by Search Institute’s research to cultivate students’ developmental relationships with parents, educators, youth program staff, and other adults leading to improved outcomes, including reduced risk behaviors. This resource emphasizes that school and youth program staff should continue to build and nurture developmental relationships with young people while they are at home during the national COVID-19 crisis.
Video Chats, Phone Calls, Postcards: Teachers Rebuild Connections with Students During Coronavirus Pandemic: Examines the loss of school rituals for both students and teachers as part of their school closure experiences. This Education Week article describes numerous ways that K-12 schools and districts are improvising shared experiences to rebuild their communities.
Virtual Learning in a Time of School Disruption: Explores advantages of utilizing virtual learning practices along with strategies to effectively engage students at significant risk of alienation from learning in a brief video podcast presented by Ray McNulty, President of the National Dropout Prevention Center.
Community-Care Strategies for Schools During the Coronavirus Crisis: Practical Tips for School Staff and Administrators: Offers practical guidance for educators, other school staff, for administrators and other leaders, to help ensure that school communities are effective, cohesive, collaborative, healthy, and sustainable while coping with the stresses of social isolation, school closures, and changes to how services are provided. As community members shelter in place they lose daily in-person connections with colleagues, students and families. Schools are uniquely positioned to help members of their communities maintain a sense of connectedness, and to identify those who may need additional support. Published by the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety [CISELSS], this brief builds on the growing research base about school climate and culture.
Non-Profit Organizations and Partnerships Can Support Students During COVID-19 Crisis: Describes lessons learned by a group of community (Prince George's County, MD) non-profit organizations that quickly pivoted to serve students remotely after emergency closure abruptly ended in-person classes in a large suburban school district. Child Trends’ blog describes several adaptable lessons learned by the YouthCONNECT partners that provide a range of services including individualized case management, mentoring, college preparation, life skills training, and after-school tutoring.
Public Health Emergency – Community Resilience: Discusses the concept of community resilience, its importance during public health emergencies and subsequent recovery, and strategies recommended by U.S. DHHS to build community resilience.
Returning to School: Considerations for Students With the Most Intensive Behavioral Needs, A Guide to Supporting Students with Disabilities, Their Families, and Educators: Provides a set of strategies and key practices to restart classrooms and schools in a manner that students, their families, and educators can use effectively, efficiently, and relevantly in the current climate.
The Toolkit Before the Toolkit: Centering Adaptive and Relational Elements of Restorative Practices for Implementation Success: Highlights the mindsets, values, social capital, and structural supports that bind and hold together restorative practices. This guide from WestEd’s Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety [CISELSS] provides educators, school leaders, and district administrators with strategies, tools, and structural supports to successfully implement restorative practices and transform their schools into strong communities with meaningful relationships, a sense of authentic belonging, and equitable whole-person outcomes.
PBIS Behavior Teaching Matrix for Remote Instruction: Shares tips for maintaining continuity of learning through defining classroom expectations for remote (i.e., distance) instruction and online learning environments. With a few adaptations, teachers can use a PBIS framework to make remote learning safe, predictable, and positive.
Class-Wide Management Strategies: Provides an evidence-based framework and supporting strategies that, when planned and practiced, lead to increased student engagement and reduced disruption. The American Psychological Association [APA] has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention [CDC] to provide five 30-minute video modules in this Classroom Management series:
- Module 1: Introduction and Class-wide Management Strategies
- Module 2: The Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
- Module 3: Functional Behavioral Assessment
- Module 4: Dealing with Challenging Behavior
- Module 5: Classroom Management and Student Engagement in the Era of COVID -19
U.S. Department of Education Releases New Resource on Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Health during COVID-19 Era: Provides information and resources to enhance the promotion of mental health and the social and emotional well-being among children and students. This resource highlights seven key challenges to providing school- or program-based mental health support across early childhood, K–12 schools, and higher education settings, and presents seven corresponding recommendations.
School Closures During Social Lockdown and Mental Health, Health Behaviors, and Well-being Among Children and Adolescents During the First COVID-19 Wave: A Systemic Review: Provides analysis of research across 11 countries including the United States finding widespread anxiety and depression among children and adolescents early in the pandemic, exacerbated by greater screen time, less physical activity, and fewer adult supports. As reported in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers synthesized effects of school closures across 36 studies including 80,000 children and adolescents. Serious symptoms of anxiety and depression were prevalent, and both a rise in screen time and social media use, and decline in physical activity, were linked to greater risk of depression among children. Health care clinicians commented that “These immediate, visible consequences of school closures are harbingers of long-term outcomes… Children are resilient, but this resiliency requires individual support, systemic scaffolding, societal investment, and scientific research into the short-, medium-, and long-term impacts of the pandemic on children.”
Responding to COVID-19 - School Mental Health: Offers a curated collection of events and resources to support the well-being of educators and school mental health personnel. Gathered by SAMHSA’s Mental Health Technology Transfer Center [MHTTC] Network, this collection offers COVID-related products and resources specific to school mental health that can be useful when coping with the effects of widespread public health crises. A compilation of school mental health resources from other organizations is also available at this site.
ASCA Toolkit: Virtual School Counseling Guidelines: Provides guidance and materials to support high school counselors to provide effective services and support to students during COVID-19-related emergency shutdowns. The American School Counselor Association [ASCA] furnishes recorded webinars, FAQs, pertinent professional and ethical standards and a thorough position statement on virtual school counseling.
Health Crisis Resources: Presents a selected set of resources to help schools and school districts provide support for their students and community in the event of a health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources offered by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) include Responding to COVID-19: Brief Action Steps for School Crisis Response Teams; Preparing for Infectious Disease Epidemics: Brief Tips for School Mental Health Professionals; Countering COVID-19 Stigma and Racism; and many more.
Provisional Numbers and Rates of Suicide by Month and Demographic Characteristics: United States, 2021: Presents provisional numbers of deaths due to suicide by month and demographic characteristics (age and sex) for 2021, and compares them with final numbers for 2020. This brief from the National Center for Health Statistics reports the overall age-adjusted suicide rate in the U.S. increased by 4% from 2020 to 2021 and, by age group, the largest percentage increase from 2020 to 2021 was for males aged 15–24, by 8%.
Responding to the Current Youth Mental Health Crisis and Preventing the Next One: Provides video recordings of a series of three workshops convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [NASEM] Forum for Children’s Well-being as part of the national observance of Mental Health Awareness Month in May 2022. Sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], the recorded workshop series focused on the promotion of positive mental health in children youth in the context of the mental health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It examined community-level strategies for responding to the current crisis, and for preventing future crises. The workshop featured lived experience perspectives and expert presentations, including a session by US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy MD.
Data: What We Know about Student Mental Health and the Pandemic: Highlights findings from recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], the JED Foundation, and Education Week’s own recent survey of high school students and educators that help illuminate the nature and scope of mental health challenges that have increased markedly during COVID-19. “Since the pandemic began, children and adolescents have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and stress, and even more specific issues such as addictive internet behaviors…" The effects of the pandemic on students are likely to persist, so it’s important for schools to be prepared to deal with this in a very comprehensive and long-term way.”
Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey (ABES) - United States, January - June 2021: Releases new data from the Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey (ABES) highlighting the magnitude of the challenges students have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health [DASH] announces this (04/01/22) as “the first nationally representative look at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health of our nation’s youth.” Funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, findings are detailed in five articles in the MMWR Surveillance Supplement.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health During COVID-19: Considerations for Schools and Early Childhood Providers: Reviews the rates of individual mental health conditions (anxiety, depression, trauma and stressor related disorders, ADHD, behavior/conduct disorders) by age, and the practical application for school mental health and early childhood providers in identifying and referring children appropriately for services. This brief was prepared through intramural research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
Sound the Alarm for Kids: Provides clear, factual statistics to justify response to children’s mental health needs in 2021-22 as a “national emergency.” The Children’s Hospital Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have jointly constructed this website to support policy advocacy and effective practices. “We are facing a significant national mental health crisis in our children and teens which requires urgent action. In the first six months of this year, children’s hospitals across the country reported a shocking 45 percent increase in the number of self-injury and suicide cases in 5- to 17-year-olds compared to the same period in 2019. We are sounding the alarm on this mental health emergency.”
Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health in Adolescents: A Systematic Review: Assesses the impact of the pandemic on adolescent mental health through systematic review of 16 quantitative studies conducted in 2019–2021 with more than 40,000 participants. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reports that adolescents of varying backgrounds experience higher rates of anxiety, depression, and stress due to the pandemic. Adolescents also have a higher frequency of using alcohol and cannabis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social support, positive coping skills, home quarantining, and parent–child discussions seem to positively impact adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 period of crisis. It is important to seek and use all available resources and therapies to help adolescents mediate adjustments caused by the pandemic.
KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Wellbeing of Parents and Children: Reports findings by the Kaiser Family Foundation about effects of the pandemic on children’s academic and emotional development over time, as well as specific impacts on adults in households that effect the children. In KFF’s large-scale polling in August 2021, 42% report their children have experienced at least one new mental health symptoms in the past 12 months including difficulty concentrating on schoolwork (27%), problems with nervousness or being easily scared or worried (19%,) trouble sleeping (18%), poor appetite or overeating (15%), and frequent headaches or stomachaches (11%).
Mental Health and Substance Use Consideration Among Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Reports the nature and prevalence of anxiety, depression and ADD/ADHD among children and adolescents in 2018 and 2019, and presents comparable reports of mental health (MH) and substance use (SUD) during the extended COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. May 2020, October 2020, March 2021). Given numerous reports of higher incidence of MH problems among students during the pandemic, this Kaiser Family Foundation analysis examines factors contributing to poor MH among children. It offers differential analysis based on age bands, ethno-cultural dimensions and gender identity; and also examines differential barriers to access to MH treatment and support among the nation’s young people.
COVID-19 Pandemic Associated with Worse Mental Health and Accelerated Brain Development in Adolescents: Reports new findings from a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health comparing adolescents living through the COVID-19 pandemic to their peers before the pandemic. This is one of the first studies to examine effects of the pandemic not only on adolescents’ mental health but also on their brain structure, reflecting more lasting effects of adversity. The two groups differed significantly in both their mental health and brain development. Compared to the pre-pandemic group, adolescents assessed after the pandemic shutdowns reported more symptoms of anxiety and depression and greater internalizing problems; and their brains showed thinning of the cortex, and reduced volume in the hippocampus and amygdala. This study shows an association between the COVID-19 pandemic and impaired mental health and maladaptive brain development among adolescents.
U.S. Teen Girls Experiencing Increased Sadness and Violence: Announces release of new CDC report (2/13/23) that “raises urgency to invest in schools as a vital lifeline to help struggling youth.” The CDC report documents that teenaged girls are experiencing record high levels of violence, sadness, and suicide risk; and that LGBQ+ teens continue to face extremely high levels of violence and mental health challenges. “Young people are experiencing a level of distress that calls on us to act with urgency and compassion,” said CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health Director Kathleen Ethier, Ph.D. “With the right programs and services in place, schools have the unique ability to help our youth flourish.”
Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Data Summary & Trends Report, 2011 – 2021: Provides the most recent surveillance data, as well as 10-year trends, on health behaviors and experiences among high school students in the U.S. related to adolescent health and well-being. These include sexual behaviors, substance use, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, experiences such as violence and poor mental health, social determinants of health such as unstable housing, and protective factors such as school connectedness and parental monitoring. This report, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s [CDC] Division of Adolescent and School Health [DASH], also highlights disparities in these important outcomes by sex, race and ethnicity, sexual identity, and sex of sexual contacts.
6 best free mindfulness apps for teachers and students: Discusses benefits of mindfulness activities for K-12 students and classrooms, and describes and links to six wide-scale, free and recommended apps to support meditation activities for students including Calm, Headspace, MyLife, Smiling Mind, Dreamykid, and Insight Timer.
National Survey on Drug Use and Health [NSDUH]: Reports findings from the 2020 administration of the annual survey, whose data suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted Americans’ mental health, including measures specific to youth ages 12 to 17. “SAMHSA’s annual NSDUH provides helpful data on the extent of substance use and mental health issues in the United States,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., who leads SAMHSA. This webpage offers a key findings report, frequently asked questions (FAQ), state-level and sub-state level estimates, and specific measures focusing on youth mental health, including trends data.
Anxiety, Depression Track with Prevalence of COVID Cases: Summarizes trends reported through U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey across 2020 and 2021. The reported findings reflect responses from adults (age 18+), whose levels of anxiety and depression are relevant to children they interact with and care for (e.g., as parents and educators). "The relative increases and decreases in frequency of reported symptoms of anxiety and depression at both the national and state levels mirrored the national weekly number of new COVID-19 cases during the same period," according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (10/8/21).
Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs: Provides focused information and resources to enhance the promotion of mental health and social and emotional well-being among students. The U.S. Department of Education highlights seven key challenges to providing school- or program-based mental health support across early childhood, K–12 schools, and higher education settings, and presents seven corresponding recommendations. This resource includes real-world examples of how the recommendations are being put into action by schools, communities, and states across the country. It is intended to supplement the information in the ED COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs, and Volume 3: Strategies for Safe Operation and Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Students, Faculty, and Staff.
Supporting Learning and Well-Being During the Coronavirus Crisis: Offers resources for education professionals and parents to support student mental health and well-being. These resources are selected by Berkeley's Greater Good in Education science-based practices.
Trauma-Informed School Strategies during COVID-19: Uses the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's [NCTSN] Creating, Supporting and Sustaining Trauma-Informed Schools: A System Framework to consider how, during COVID-19, schools can adapt their practices by using a trauma-informed approach to help children feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. The framework presents 10 core aspects of a trauma-informed school system, and explains how each can be adapted to the inherent uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic to assure parents and caregivers that the school community is strengthening their child's well-being, thereby allowing families to reinforce the importance of learning.
The Two Pandemics Call for Commitment to Embedding Mental Health Concerns in All Forms of Schooling: Presents “A Brief Analysis & Call to Action” through which the co-directors of the Center for Mental Health in Schools [UCLA] argue that “leaders concerned with advancing mental health in school need to focus on much more than just increasing clinical services.” They emphasize promoting youth development, wellness, social and emotional learning, and fostering the emergence of a caring, supportive, and nurturing climate throughout a school. Their paper challenges prevailing conceptions of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS).
Lessons from the Field: How Schools & Districts Are Meeting the Social-Emotional and Mental Health Needs of Students & Staff: Provides a recording, transcript, slides, speaker biographies, and links to a curated set of related resources for ED’s May 12, 2021 national webinar featuring lessons learned and best practices from innovative partnerships of community organizations and school systems that are effectively engaging students in social and emotional learning activities. Leaders from ED, the Centers for Disease Control [CDC] and SAMHSA described current approaches by federal agencies that support strategies like those shared by the local presenters.
Beyond SEL: Stories of Well-Being, Connection, and Equity in Schools: Shares stories from 8 American public schools and districts that are taking innovative, evidence-based approaches to address well-being, connection and equity needs of K-12 students. Each story is presented by WestEd as an audiocast and is paired with a summary of the story and links to related published resources. The site provides a short implementation guide to support engagement with the audio gallery.
Social and Emotional Climate and Learning: Serves as a learning hub to support social and emotional learning (SEL)for students – one of the primary components of the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework for school health. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are increasing their focus on mental health and well-being. Many schools are working to create a positive social and emotional climate for all students. This webpage links to information and resources addressing numerous aspects of SEL, including how families can support social and emotional learning (new tip sheet and new toolkit).
SEL at Home: Remote Learning Options: Compiles a list of resources, lesson plans, activities, games, and tip sheets to support infusion of social emotional learning principles, concepts and practices to help families and educators promote well-being for children and youth outside the classroom setting. The Great Lakes Mental Health Technology Transfer Center [MHTTC] network lists and described ten evidence-supported programs that are (currently) available for free.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Digital Life Resource Center: Offers educators a collection of CASEL-aligned quick activities, family conversation starters, and accompanying professional development resources from Common Sense Education to help teachers promote social and emotional learning as their students navigate the digital world.
The Three Highest Priority Investments to Make in SEL with American Rescue Plan Dollars: Describes three areas where investments of American Rescue Plan Act [ARPA] K-12 funds can effectively bolster systemic implementation of social emotional learning [SEL]. CASEL published this policy brief in May 2021.
Service-Learning Stories from the Field: Shares updates about provision of service-learning opportunities for students in the context of (October 2020) COVID-19 public health restrictions. This blog post from the National Youth Leadership Council [NYLC] summarizes input from more than 60 educators in K12, higher education, and community-based settings. Most respondents report they have been moving forward with provision and support for service-learning opportunities for students, adapting to COVID-19 restrictions as necessary.
State Efforts to Elevate Social and Emotional Learning During the Pandemic: Reports findings and recommendations, based on CASEL’s analysis of 50 states’ COVID-19 response plans, about ways to support student and adult social and emotional competencies learning. This brief has been developed to inform policies to keep SEL and relationships at the forefront. It provides numerous strategies to support equitable learning for students and families.
Natural Opportunities to Promote Social-Emotional Learning and MH: Describes numerous natural opportunities (teachable moments) that can enable promotion of students’ personal and social growth in addition to curriculum-based instruction. These “practice notes” from the Center for School Mental Health at UCLA identifies daily, yearly and other opportunities for SEL teaching, and offers several key principles that should support efforts to identify and use such teachable moments.
Updated: Free Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources for Schools During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Lists free resources developed by education technology companies and organizations to equip education systems with supports for social and emotional learning and psychological wellbeing to teachers, students and families during COVID-19 school closures.
Design and Implement an SEL Professional Learning Program for Schools: Highlights requirements and characteristics of high-quality implementation of a professional learning program for social emotional learning for educators and school staff. CASEL’s on-line District Resource Center Learning Center describes a process to create a scaffolded, comprehensive district learning program to develop SEL skills of school staff, embedding SEL practices and content throughout other professional learning programs in the district, and providing regular opportunities for school leaders and teams to learn from one another. This site also includes a resources page offering additional tools to support the learning program.
Remote Learning Resources for SEL, Mental Health and Behavior: Collects resources and tools specific to social emotional learning, behavior, mental health and general health to support schools and families when in-person learning is suspended or interrupted. A team of professionals from the Colorado Department of Education curates and presents evidence-based practices and supports.
Final Recommendation Statement: Anxiety in Children and Adolescents: Screening: Provides new (10/11/22) recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF] that primary care physicians should screen all children ages eight to 18 for anxiety. The USPSTF also reaffirmed its position that all adolescents ages 12 to 18 should be screened for depression. In making its recommendations, the task force hopes to reduce the number of children whose mental health conditions go undetected and untreated.”
Mental Health Screening Tools for Grades K-12: Provides guidance about purposes and utility of mental health screening tools for K-12 students and discusses essential pre-requisites for universal screening efforts. This brief from the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments [NCSSLE, 2021] identifies a set of six recommended mental health screening tools and offers a deep set of additional resources to support a full-scale universal screening effort within K-12 schools.
Teachers Guide to Anxiety: Outlines types of anxiety that are common in children, and describes symptoms of anxiety you might see in your classroom. ChildMind.org explains that anxiety is sometimes easy to identify (e.g., when a child is too nervous to read aloud or make a presentation in class); while at other times anxiety in the classroom can look like something else entirely — an upset stomach, disruptive or angry classroom behavior, ADHD or even a learning disorder.
Systematic Screening Guidance in the COVID-19 Era: Offers three videos (3 minutes, 23 minutes, 48 minutes) to support screening of students for internal and externalizing behaviors in the COVID-19 era. This website includes more than half a dozen validated screening instruments with extensive supportive resources for screening protocols, primary reference, and training resources.
Pulse Check: Brief Surveys to Assess Socioemotional Needs of Your School Community: Recommends administering periodic surveys to gather feedback from families and teachers about the social and emotional needs of both students and educators, including insights about what is and is not working well. ED’s Comprehensive Centers National Network has designed a set of four Return-to-School surveys – one each for teachers, for school counselors and social workers, for parents, and for students (Gr 6-12) – designed to take about ten minutes to complete - to help school administrators quickly assess the major concerns and needs of the school community and integrate them into their planning.
UCLA Brief COVID-19 Screen for Child/Adolescent PTSD: Offers a no-cost screening tool to triage potential impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on students and their families. The tool is designed for use by professionals across a range of child serving systems, including behavioral health, primary care, pediatrics, schools, child welfare and juvenile justice. The pandemic exposure questions are followed by an 11-item set of validated questions about the frequency of PTSD symptoms in the past month. The score sheet provides an algorithm for determining the need for ongoing monitoring or a full PTSD assessment and, if indicated, evidence-based trauma-focused treatment. The UCLA Brief COVID-19 Screen for Child/Adolescent PTSD is available in English and Spanish.
Helping Children with Traumatic Separation or Traumatic Grief Related to COVID-19: Offers suggestions for parents/caregivers and other adults supporting children with traumatic separation or traumatic grief related to COVID-19. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network [NCTSN] developed this tip sheet, reminding that, especially in stressful times, in addition to the suggestions here, “all children benefit from caregivers listening to and validating their different feelings.”
How Schools Can Help Kids Heal after a Year of 'Crisis and Uncertainty': Offers insight about the importance of providing regular/daily mental health promotion and support activities for K-12 students. This 7-minute audio segment on National Public Radio (4/21/21) shares examples from students, family members and student support personnel. Child psychiatrist Matt Beil, featured in this story, commented, "If kids don't return to school and get a lot of attention paid to security, safety, predictability and re-establishing of strong, secure relationships, [they] are not gonna be able to make up ground academically."
COVID-19 Resources: A Trauma-Informed, Whole Child Response: Provides links to two recent reports from UConn's Collaboratory on School and Child Health about schools' trauma-informed responses to COVID-19. The first article outlines how schools should plan for a trauma-informed response to COVID-19. The second article summarizes easy-to-use and low-cost strategies that can be integrated within existing school initiatives and adapted to fit different contexts.
Supporting Students Experiencing Trauma During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Identifies best practices for addressing student- and educator-related trauma through the Cross-State Collaborative to Support Schools in the Opioid Crisis (CCSSOC). Through this work, the collaborative developed and curated tools and strategies all educators may find useful when supporting students during this time.
Trauma-Informed Schools During COVID-19: What Can We Do?: Illustrates how both the COVID-19 pandemic and other adverse community experiences can aggravate negative impacts on existing or prior adverse childhood experiences, this one-page infographic also describes four strategies educators can undertake to mitigate harm and promote positive engagement with school in both in-person and distance learning contexts.
A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus: Guides education professionals in applying trauma-informed best practices to support school-based communities. This resource features recommendations for educators during the COVID-19 crisis, from experts from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
Targeted: Supporting Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health for Vulnerable Students at Risk (Tier 2)
Building Student Resilience Toolkit: Offers a toolkit designed for middle school and junior high school educators to strengthen their skills for nurturing student resilience. Supports for the mental health and general wellbeing of students are particularly essential when students are struggling or experiencing trauma (e.g., contending with impact of COVID-19), while also experiencing adolescence. Building student resilience can mitigate the impact of adversities, enabling students to rise above the challenges they face and recalibrate their responses accordingly. This resource from the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments [NCSSLE – April 2021] provides four complementary modules, each of which includes training guides, companion slide presentations, and accompanying handouts.
Psychological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19 (Online Course): Teaches techniques for supporting mental health during the COVID-19 crisis. Based on guidance from the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); this online course is designed to help individuals, build resilience, support themselves and lend support to others. The 60-minute course covers these topics:
- Recognizing Stress in Adults, Teens and Children
- Practicing Mental Health First Aid
- Caring for Yourself
- Supporting Your Family
- Supporting Yourself and Coworkers at Work
Each student who completes the course will receive an American Red Cross Psychological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19 Online certificate that will be valid for 2 years.
How Right Now (Spanish version): Promotes, and seeks to strengthen, the emotional well-being and resiliency of populations adversely affected by COVID-19–related stress, grief, and loss. This on-line campaign offers a self-screening mechanism and provides information about various emotions (e.g., fear, anger, sadness, stress), resources that can help a person start a conversation about their feelings and concerns, discover what is helping others experiencing similar emotions, and other resources that can help. Support for the campaign is provided by the CDC Foundation in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. Available in English, too.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center - Schools: Outlines key strategies K-12 schools can use to take a comprehensive approach to help keep students safe. SAMHSA’s national Suicide Prevention Resource Center provides guidance and resources reflecting evidence-based best practices to: promote emotional well-being and connectedness among all students; identify students who may be at risk for suicide and assist them in getting help; and to be prepared to respond when a suicide death occurs.
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: An Action Plan for Strengthening Mental Health and the Prevention of Suicide in the Aftermath of COVID-19: Presents six priorities and related actions developed by the steering committee of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19. The priority areas and related actions are directed toward those who can create change and implement lasting solutions, including federal and state policymakers, government agencies and non-profit organizations, health care accreditation organizations, professional associations, health care providers, and public and private payers.
Second Step COVID-19 Response: Resources for Educators and Families: Offers an extensive suite of curated resources for educational use by parents, families, and teachers with students managing learning impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each resource has been created by Committee for Children. Specific guidance is provided for Second Step® programming at the early learning, elementary and middle school levels, whether they are teaching remotely, in-person, or with a hybrid model. Second step meeting packs, tailored programming to address Community Rebuilding in the wake of extended school closures, bullying prevention and child protection units are provided.
Returning to School During and After Crisis: A Guide to Supporting States, Districts, Schools, Educators, and Students through a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Framework: Highlights resources to support the use of a multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework to support students, families, and educators during the transitions back to school during and following the global pandemic, in a manner that prioritizes their health and safety, social and emotional needs, and behavioral and academic growth.
Childhood Grief (Resources): Presents a set of 15 resources intended to support children and families impacted by powerful, overwhelming and often confusing emotions associated with the death of someone close to them or substance abuse in their family.
Psychological Effects of Quarantine During the Coronavirus Outbreak: What Healthcare Providers Need to Know: Introduces foreseeable psychological effects of quarantine, added with strategies for how healthcare providers (including school-based counselors, nurses and school social workers) can implement care for their students’/patients’ and their own mental well-being during periods of quarantine.
COVID-19 Resource Guide for Students, Teens, and Young Adults: Provides curated sets of resources and tips to help young people navigate challenges stemming from pandemic disruptions. Recognizing several COVID-19 related insults to mental well-being -- dealing with sudden changes to regular schedules; feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, even loss and grief – the JED Foundation reassures that it is completely expected and appropriate to experience fear. The selected resources intend to support strategies to manage overwhelming anxiety and keep perspective as the situation unfolds.
Grief Organizations and Grief Camps: Furnishes state-by-state listings of grief camps, hospice and grief organizations intended to support children and families who are grieving. The Eluna Network compilation of state and local resources also lists curated books and web-based materials to support children and families impacted by grief, addiction and loss.
U.S. Transition to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Begins Saturday (07/16/22): Announces transition from the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988 – an easy-to-remember three-digit number for 24/7 crisis care. The lifeline, which also links to the Veterans Crisis Line, is part of President Biden’s comprehensive strategy to ensure all Americans have access to help during mental health crises. Implemented as a top priority at US DHHS. the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, signed into law after the passage of bipartisan legislation in 2020, authorized 988 as a new three-digit number for suicide and mental health crisis. All telephone service and text providers in the U.S. and the five major U.S. territories are required by the FCC to activate 988 no later than July 16. To help publicize this new national resource, access free 988 social media shareables here. You can also order 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline wallet cards here.
Online and Telephone Support Groups: Offers treatment providers (e.g., school counselors, psychologists) and peer support specialists an extensive list of online and telephone support groups for their clients/peers. SAMHSA’s Addiction Technology Transfer Center [ATTC] network has vetted the list to ensure that none is associated with any specific treatment/ recovery center, and that none require individuals to register first to access online group support services. Both 12 Step and non-12 Step-based online support groups are identified.
Screen4Success – Substance Use Prevention: Asks questions about substance use, mental and physical health, general wellbeing, and family life. This app – a part of SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You” campaign mobile app, provides an easy way for parents and caregivers to identify areas where their children may benefit from additional support. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to fill out the screener with their kids, creating opportunities for discussion in the moment, or they can send it to their children to complete on their own.
2021 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Releases (January 2023): Provides nationally representative data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs; substance use disorders; receipt of substance use treatment; mental health issues; and the use of mental health services among the civilian, noninstitutionalized population aged 12 or older in the United States. SAMHSA’s NSDUH estimates allow researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and the general public to better understand and improve the nation’s behavioral health. The 2021 Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators report summarizes substance use (tobacco, alcohol, vaping, marijuana and other illicit drug use, as well as the use and misuse of prescription drugs); initiation of substance use by type; substance use disorders (SUDs); major depressive episode (MDE), any mental illness, and serious mental illness; mental illness and MDE co-occurring with substance use and SUDs; suicidal thoughts, plans, and non-fatal attempts; substance use treatment and mental health service use; and perceived impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on substance use, mental health issues, and treatment. Estimates are presented by age group and by race/ethnicity for selected measures.
Intensive Supports: Supporting Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health of Individual Students with Significant Needs
Pharmacologic and Nonpharmacologic Treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Adds 48 newly published randomized control trials (RCTs) examining treatments for PTSD and comorbid PTSD/substance use disorder (SUD) to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ] and National Center for PTSD [NCPTSD] standardized data repository. Updates (October 2022) to the publicly available PTSD trials database allow clinical, research, education, and policy stakeholders to understand current research on treatment effectiveness and harms, enabling them to make informed decisions about future research, mental health policy, and clinical care priorities. These updates ensure that all available evidence is included and accessible for a broad range of users.
Pediatric Emergency Department Visits Associated with Mental Health Conditions Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic - United States, January 2019 - January 2022: Emphasizes the importance of early identification and expanded evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies to improve pediatric mental health, especially among adolescent females. This February 2022 update by CDC investigators shows that weekly emergency department visits among adolescent females (aged 12–17 years) increased for two eating and tic disorders during 2020; for depression, eating, tic, and obsessive-compulsive disorders during 2021; and for anxiety; trauma and stressor-related; eating; tic; and obsessive-compulsive disorders during January 2022, compared with 2019.
Helping Children Cope with Stress During the 2019-nCov Outbreak: Provides tips for caregivers to help children deal with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak. This one-page tip sheet was produced by the World Health Organization.
Emergency Department Visits for Suspected Suicide Attempts Among Persons Aged 12-25 Years Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic - United States, January 2019-May 2021: Reports CDC findings that emergency department (ED) visits for suspected suicide attempts began to increase in May 2020 among adolescents aged 12–17 years, especially girls. During February–March 2021 suspected suicide attempt ED visits were 50.6% higher among girls aged 12–17 years than during the same period in 2019. This report suggests these trends have persisted among young persons as the pandemic has progressed. The authors emphasize that suicide prevention requires a comprehensive approach that is adapted during times of infrastructure disruption, involves multisectoral partnerships, and implements evidence-based strategies to address the range of factors influencing suicide risk.
'I Miss the Interaction': The Pandemic Has Thrown Curveballs at School Counselors: Shares reflections by school counseling professionals about both challenges and “silver linings” when supporting students throughout the pandemic, including through distance-spanning/virtual formats. Education Week’s 3/31/21 article also describes some innovative adaptations counselors have developed to address the chief challenges.
School Disruption as a Dropout Risk Factor: Examines short and long-term effects of school disruption on the nation’s dropout rates in the context of the current pandemic. This discussion by Dr. Sandy Addis, director of National Dropout Prevention Center, is shared in a video presentation.
National Guidelines for Child and Youth Behavioral Health Crisis Care: Offers best practices, implementation strategies, and practical guidance for the design and development of services that meet the needs of children, youth, and their families experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Additional technical guidance is provided in a companion report produced by SAMHSA in conjunction with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, A Safe Place to Be: Crisis Stabilization Services and Other Supports for Children and Youth.
A Safe Place to Be: Crisis Stabilization Services and Other Supports for Children and Youth: Reviews the need for and components of crisis stabilization services for children, youth, young adults, and their families: someone to contact (crisis call lines), someone to respond (mobile response teams), and a safe place to be. The Institute for Innovation & Implementation (University of Maryland, Baltimore) and the National Association of State Mental health Program Directors [NASMHPD] produced this technical guide (September 2022) for SAMHSA. Stabilization services at home are critically necessary within a service array. Mobile response can and should be designed to respond to an immediate incident, de-escalate the situation, and begin the process of stabilization. States and localities also ensure they have sufficient capacity to refer for and deliver stabilization services.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Is Now: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Provides information from SAMHSA describing the new National Suicide Prevention Hotline (a.k.a. “988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline”).
Blog: Addressing Trauma and Mass Violence: Addresses the trauma of mass violence with a comprehensive array of coping resources and tools, including toll-free helplines, a range of resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network [NCTSN], and several published resources. SAMHSA administrator Miriam Delphin-Rittmon posted this blog in the wake of the high-profile mass shooting tragedies in Buffalo NY and Uvalde TX.
Responding to Death in the COVID-19 Context: Guidelines for Administrators and Crisis Teams: Highlights key considerations in communicating a death with the school community. The National Association of School Psychologists [NASP] acknowledges that, within the contemporary COVID-19 context, there will continue to be deaths within many school communities that impact the teachers, staff, students, and families. Each death of a student, staff member, or parent impacts many people in the school community. NASP reminds that the response to the death is important to help facilitate healthy coping, adaptation, and bereavement. This website offers numerous resources related to grief, including tips for administrators, teachers, and families.
From Crisis to Care: Building from 988 and Beyond for Better Mental Health Outcomes: Provides a series of ten technical assistance collaborative papers providing important resources for state leaders, policy makers, providers, peers and others to learn about innovative services and the need for further 988 implementation. This (September 2022) resource was produced by SAMHSA in conjunction with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
Unmasked Stories of Inequity: Emerging Voices from the Pandemic: Highlights young people’s experiences with remote learning throughout the pandemic and their recommendations for how policymakers, administrators, youth development specialists and other adults can better support them. In this 13-part film series from the National Urban League, young people tell their stories in their voices.
MH LIT: Student Mental Health in Action: Provides a resource for secondary school educators to support student mental health literacy and help-seeking. This comprehensive toolkit from School Mental Health Ontario includes a four-part lesson series focusing on mental health and mental illness (the dual continuum); signs of mental health problems; strategies to support mental health and well-being; and how/where to access help for yourself and your friends, when needed. The resource also offers supportive materials including a school readiness checklist, a secondary school leader’s implementation resource, and educator preparation suggestions. All materials are available in English and in French.
Teens on a Year That Changed Everything: Presents words, images and video presentations by dozens of students across the nation, showing how they have met life’s challenges in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York Times synthesized contributions from more than 5,000 students who responded to prompts from the newspaper’s learning network multi-media contest, Coming of Age in 2020. “It was, in many ways, a generation-defining disaster. Being trapped inside — and missing the milestones that ordinarily mark coming of age in America — was lonely, disorienting, depressing and even suffocating. But many also surprised themselves. They bonded with siblings, discovered nature, found small comforts in Zoom-school, played games, worked out, cooked, wrote, sang, danced, painted and made videos. And, perhaps most important at a time of life focused on figuring out who you are, they reinvented themselves.”
Support for Teens and Young Adults: CDC webpage offering information for teens and young adults to help manage stress related to COVID-19 is frequently reviewed and updated.
Evaluation of Mental Health Mobile Applications: Proposes a framework to assess mental health mobile applications with the aim to facilitate selection of apps. The results of applying this framework (developed by Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ]) will yield summary statements on the strengths and limitations of the apps, and are intended for use by providers and patients/caregivers.
The All in My Head Podcast: Describes series of 10+ podcast episodes created during the COVID-19 pandemic with the intention of supporting teens through a wide variety of struggles they face (e.g. suicide, cultural appropriation, and multiple struggles of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth). Shared through the School-Based Health Alliance’s Youth Development hub, the podcasts have been made possible by local Oregon-based grants for youth engagement. The series has been acknowledged by Sources of Strength, a peer-led suicide prevention program.
Students Weigh In: Learning and Well-Being During COVID-19: Explores what students have to say about learning and well-being during COVID-19 in a three-part series of large-scale surveys (July 2000; February 2021; August 2021). YouthTruth, a national nonprofit that aims to elevate student voice on critical issues in education, asked how students have perceived their learning experiences, social-emotional development, and well-being at six-month intervals dating back to initial spring 2020 school closures. YouthTruth has analyzed survey data from more than 20,000 students in grades 5-12, collected through a 12-minute online survey, administered in English and Spanish, in partnership with 166 public schools across nine states. Click here to explore the on-line interactive report of all findings.
Our Minds Matter: Support During COVID-19: Supports student-led activities to encourage students to seek help for themselves and friends when they struggle with mental health challenges. During the national COVID-19 emergency Our Minds Matter has created an extensive library of videos, and offers numerous curated resources through this webpage.
Have a #RealConvo: Provides tools, resources, and creative ideas for peers to “have a #Real Convo” about mental health to help oneself or another person to get support or treatment if needed. This American Foundation for Suicide Prevention [AFSP] webpage offers quick tips, guides, actual stories, and other resources designed to support individuals who are struggling with mental health challenges.
Why More Schools Are Excusing Student Absences for Mental Health: Chronicles trend among state legislatures and school districts to allow excused absences for mental health reasons, and shares strategies systems are using to identify student needs for well-being support that avert stigma and can support a culture of constructive follow-up. A vice president for Mental Health America encourages schools to envision their mental health programming as a spectrum that includes prevention, recognition, and services. “Granting excused absences for mental health days can help prevent a serious problem, or facilitate getting treatment.”
If Your Child is Worried about a Friend: Provides information parents can use to familiarize their children with the signs that a friend needs help dealing with emotional issues or may be dealing with a mental health problem. This resource, developed for the JED Foundation’s Set to Go program, teaches signs of depression or apathy, severe anxiety or stress, increased use of alcohol or drugs or compulsive behavior, that should be taken seriously.
Student Voice Team Leading Study on the Student Impact of COVID-19: Highlights early results from more than 12,000 students in Kentucky, shared through an all-student Student Voice Team panel, sharing insights into how middle and high school students have been coping with COVID-19. The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has hosted this effort. Among reported findings: cyberbullying has decreased since COVID closed schools; many students report feeling more depression, anxiety and a sense of worthlessness than before schools closed; students report they are getting more sleep, spending more time outside, and making better use of their time whole learning some time management skill; and students report having lost their mental health services, and needing/wanting more. See the 1-hour panel presentation for more complete insights.
COVID-19 Guidance for Early Childhood Education & Child Care Programs: Provides official CDC guidance for Early Care and Education (ECE) programs, outlining strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe operations.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C Q&A: Responds to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C provision of service in the current COVID-19 environment.
COVID-19 & the Head Start Community: Offers information about President Biden’s announcement requiring all Head Start program staff and certain contractors to be vaccinated. This action will help more programs and early childhood centers safely remain open and provide comfort to the many parents and guardians that rely on them every day to keep their children safe.
Important Home Visiting Information During COVID-19: Outlines safeguards for home visitors and families during the COVID-19 public health emergency to support state and local early childhood home visiting programs and providers.
Historic Crisis, Historic Opportunity: Using Evidence to Mitigate the Effects of the COVID-19 Crisis on Young Children and Early Care and Education Programs: Provides clear evidence on the pandemic’s impact for children, programs, and educators coupled with concrete policy recommendations. It aims to help policymakers make evidence-informed choices about how to leverage new resources and support efforts to build a stronger ECE system.
COVID-19: Updates and Information: Offers information and guidance from the American Psychological Association [APA] on adapting educational activities for accredited mental health programs.
Response to COVID-19: Offers information and guidance related to Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs [CACREP] accreditation extensions that have been affected by the pandemic.
COVID-19 Evidence-Based Resources: Provides a series of evidence-based resources and information about teaching and learning in a remote environment, as well as other considerations brought by the pandemic, produced by the US Department of Education's 10 Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) in response to COVID-19.
Association of Children's Mode of School Instruction with Child and Parent Experiences and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Presents findings, and analysis by CDC experts, of COVID Experiences Survey of nearly 1,300 family respondents of 5-12 year old students during fall 2020. Findings suggest that virtual instruction might present more risks than does in-person instruction related to child and parental mental and emotional health and some health-supporting behaviors. The evidence suggests that children not receiving full-time, in-person instruction, and their parents, might need additional supports to mitigate pandemic impacts.
Technology as an Intervention Tool: Provides an extensive set of hyperlinked resources for using technology to address barriers to learning; to support engagement and re-engagement of students, including through peer relationships; using telehealth to provide mental health supports and treatment for students; and more generally to support K-12 instruction. This webpage, developed and maintained by UCLA’s Center for Mental Health in Schools & Student/Learning Supports, also includes links to more than 15 agencies and websites that offer additional resources to support effective distance learning and delivery of related services including mental health programming.
Engaging Parents and Students from Diverse Populations in the Context of Distance Learning: Presents district and school-based strategies to support student and family engagement, particularly among vulnerable populations, in the context of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on lessons from research and practice to help educators engage with students and their families to support continued learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, presenters in this 45-minute webinar from the US Department of Education's Regional Educational Laboratory [REL] program discussed strategies in three areas: 1. Cultivating a partnership orientation; 2. Practicing cultural responsiveness, and 3. Establishing two-way communication.
Navigating Uncertain Times: How Schools Can Cope with Coronavirus: Collects news, resources, expert advice, and innovative practices from across the U.S. to inform schools’ decision-making for establishing and operating effective remote learning. Ed Surge and its parent organization, International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE], continuously replenish this sight.
An Unexpected Tool for Remote-Learning During Coronavirus: Public TV Stations: Documents how public television stations are taking the initiative to fill a void created by the digital divide for families lacking access to more advanced solutions used for online learning. Television-based learning represents a low-cost, readily accessible solution for districts that have been forced to develop and implement long-term online lesson plans on the spot, while facing a shortage of available devices and WiFi access for many students.
California: Distance Learning: The California Department of Education [CDE] presents considerations for developing a distance learning plan that supports effective engagement for students; addresses considerations to ensure equity and access for all students including individuals with disabilities, low-income households, and English learners; offers a five-tiered continuum of learning options to best fit students’ support needs, and an extensive set of resources that support distance learning. Additionally, provides a framework for how LEAs can continue to deliver high-quality educational opportunities to students when the LEA has suspended on-site instruction.
NCFL Providing Free Online Learning Resources for Kids During COVID-19 School Closures: Invites parents and children to continue healthy academic habits while away from school for several weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. Parents can access free on-line resources for out-of-school time from the National Center for Families Learning, if they will provide their email address (which subscribes them to a monthly newsletter).
26 Educational Apps & Sites for Distance Learning with ADHD: Offers a set of educational apps and website curated by readers of the ADDitude webpage that can help students with ADHD to improve their study skills, learn new languages, and supplement school instruction for all ages.
Virtual Reset Room: Offers an extensive, curated set of helpful tools (e.g. visual relaxation, guided practice, wildlife camera, sounds and music) to equip students and educators with means to access to support wellness and resilience amid contemporary stressors. Scores of specific tools have been catalogued at this website by the Rockingham County (NC) Schools’ Behavioral Health Department.
Kansas: Learning Across Kansas: Provides supplemental education content for elementary, middle school and high school students featuring grade-specific educational content delivered in 30-minute televised episodes from some of the state’s most talented and acclaimed teachers. The calendar of scheduled programs, jointly arranged by the state’s four PBS stations, is intentionally expansive to provide numerous opportunities for students and families to participate, despite their unique routines, priorities and challenges.
Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide: Helps all parents and caregivers understand how digital tools can provide tailored learning opportunities, engage students with course materials, encourage creative expression, and enrich the educational experience as they monitor their child’s progress accessing and using technology for learning. Produced by ED’s Office of Educational Technology, this guide also includes easy-to-understand primers on major federal laws governing student privacy and safety.
Fact Sheet: The Emergency Broadband Benefit: Announces the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (effective for six months beginning May 12, 2021) that offers consumers substantial discounts on broadband service and computer devices to support more affordable access to distance learning. The fact sheet explains the range if discounts available; eligibility criteria (qualifies for free or reduced-price school meals, or for Pell grants); lists more than 800 participating broadband providers in this federally funded COVID-19 relief program; and guides interested families/students about how to sign up for the benefit.
Schools Can Help Families Apply for Federal Help in Paying for Home Internet Access: Explains how families who qualify for the free and reduced price lunch program – and higher education students who receive Pell grants – can qualify for significant discounts to their monthly broadband internet access bills during the six-month term of this federal COVID-19 relief benefit that is available beginning May 12, 2021. Education Week reports Secretary Miguel Cardona’s announcement of this program to help “close the digital divide.”
Apps and Websites for Improving Parent-Teacher Communication (Spanish language resources) Identifies and describes a vetted list of apps and websites that provide practical, regular communication tools to encourage active engagement among students, teachers and parents. More than half of the programs selected by Common Sense Education are available for free.
Power Up Your Parent Teacher Communication: Offers numerous programs, tools and tip sheets, introduced in a short video clip; and recommends Resources for Educators During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak: Recommends best practices for activity ideas to parents and caregivers whose families are sheltering in place, social distancing, and homeschooling due to closures amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
#PlayAtHome with Playworks: Provides free video tutorials of games that follow CDC guidelines for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, that can be played at home with little or no equipment. Families can also learn how to play along during a “free virtual recess” with Playworks live on Facebook each weekday, can access demonst6rations of games on Playworks’ YouTube channel.
New ACCESS BROADBAND Dashboard Helps Assess How Broadband Availability and Adoption Impact Local Economies: Provides a series of maps displaying statistics on broadband access for U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and counties (a few are available at the census tract level). The ACCESS BROADBAND Act of 2021 charged the National Telecommunications and Information Administration [NTIA] to track federal broadband investment. NTIA works with the U.S. Census Bureau to develop the ACCESS BROADBAND Dashboard. This first release of the Dashboard enables users to assess baseline economic characteristics at the smallest geographic level possible. They plan to update the dashboard annually, and each release will include the interactive dashboard and supplemental data files.
Digital Citizenship Curriculum: Provides interactive lessons and activities to address timely topics and prepare students to take ownership of their digital lives. Common Sense Education offers free curriculum components (lesson slides, videos, bilingual and customizable materials) by grade level and topic.
Tools for Classrooms with In-Person and Remote Students: Offers 27 tools for concurrent (a.k.a. hybrid or hyflex) learning, a complex blended learning model that can be challenging and frustrating for teachers and students. Teachers are increasingly being asked to manage classrooms with both students who are physically present and students attending remotely. Concurrent learning relies on videoconferencing software (e.g., Zoom, Teams, Skype), and poses challenges including technical difficulties, and creating an inclusive environment to facilitating group work or assessments. Common Sense Education has compiled these tools to help teachers create seamless, collaborative digital classrooms that will benefit students learning in-person and those learning online.
Mental Health Effects of Online Learning: Explains how online learning environments can impact the mental health of students and parents. Clinical professionals from Kentucky Counseling Center also offer tips for students and parents for how to cope with the challenges of online learning.
A Virtual Learning Guide for Professional Development: Provides technical and interactive strategies and approaches to virtual learning to support both educators and the school mental health workforce.
Remote and Hybrid Learning May Be a Permanent Strategy: How Will We Know Whether It Is Successful?: Describes tools to inform implementation of remote and hybrid instruction now and into the future.
Emerging Challenges and Creative Solutions for Early Childhood Play-Based Learning in Remote Settings: Highlights strategies for integrating play-based learning into remote instruction. This blog focuses on how play-based learning engages young students in intentional, structured, and developmentally appropriate play that supports specific learning goals.
Updated: Free Resources for Schools During COVID-19 Outbreak: Provides direct links to resources offered by education technology companies and organizations to support distance learning. Links - updated in September 2020 - are categorized by academic subject area, and address broadband/internet access/free Wi-Fi resources, and social and emotional learning resources.
Wide Open School: Provides five sets of free, curated on-line lessons and learning tools supported by Common Sense Media. Sets of lessons and materials are presented by grade level. The full collection is accompanied by a 5-minute video overview. The learning content and activities prioritize students’ social, emotional, and psychological well-being in the context of academic instruction in a distance learning context.
Promising Practices Brief: Improving Student Engagement and Attendance During COVID-19 School Closures: Provides an overview of the research on student engagement and attendance in online environments and highlights the efforts of five districts across the country to support student attendance and engagement during emergency school closures during 2020.
Strategies for Trauma-Informed Distance Learning: Offers some general strategies, with specific examples, for how to recognize and respond to students’ social and emotional needs while teaching remotely. The Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety [CISELSS] has organized these strategies according to neuroscientist Bruce Perry’s “3 Rs” approach to intervention: Regulate, Relate, and Reason.
Creating a PBIS Behavior Teaching Matrix for Remote Instruction: Shares tips for maintaining continuity of learning through defining classroom expectations for remote/ distance instruction and online learning environments. This practice brief from the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports, shows how teachers can adapt a PBIS framework to make remote learning safe, predictable, and positive for students.
Keep Calm and Connect All Students: Incorporates a series of reflection questions, highlights promising solutions geared towards remote learning measures for learners, and describes effective practices for educators and system leaders. ED’s Office of Educational Technology provided this extended blog series with multiple posts geared to a variety of audiences. Information shared intentionally complements other publications from the US Department of Education.
Supporting Middle Level Educator through COVID-19: Promotes learning events and collaborative online spaces to support middle level educators through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Association for Middle Level Education [AMLE] offers tips for selecting remote learning resources and how to effectively use them to keep students engaged outside the classroom.
Best Practices for Creating Take-Home Packets to Support Distance Learning: Documents ways in which take-home packets can be used as a primary mode of instruction during at-home learning and as a supplemental resource when school is back in session. These best practices are compiled and presented by the US Department of Education's Regional Educational Laboratory [REL-Pacific].
Best Practices for Educating Online: Guides educators and clinicians through best practices, teaching strategies, tips and tricks for delivering high-quality instruction and therapy online with a quick turnaround. This guide, developed by the Council for Exceptional Children and eLuma Online Therapy, walks professionals through preparation (technology, software, environment, apparel) and execution of instructional strategies for live, online learning in a clear and succinct 8 pages, including numerous hyperlinks to original primary resources.
Supporting Children's Reading at Home: Family Resources for Kindergarten through 3rd Grade: Features a 46-minute webinar recording. Viewers will gain the knowledge and ability to utilize the REL Southeast’s Supporting Your Child’s Reading at Home family resources for kindergarten through 3rd grade in their home setting.
Wide Open School: Offers families and educators a large collection of free resources to enrich and support distance learning. More than 80 partners and supporters have contributed their preferred resources to meet the change in learning needs of students, teachers, and families due to the coronavirus pandemic. Common Sense Education provides this collection, introduced by a short (5-minute) video to guide families to select and use high-quality media and at-home learning opportunities for their children.
Free Distance Learning Plans for K-2 Students and Their Families: Introduces “fun and friendly” weekly learning plans for K-2 children, assists educators of young students with opening up lines of communication for their families, and engages students in new digital learning routines. Common Sense Learning offers these free resources as a quick-start guide to help establish a comfortable distance learning climate at home. The three packets – one each for kindergarten, grades 1 and 2 students - are structured around basic principles including: 1.) Start with digital citizenship, 2.) Set reasonable goals, and 3.) Attempt a schedule.
Addressing Key Cultural and Socio-Economic Considerations and Advancing Equity for Students and Families
COVID-19 Information for Specific Groups of People: Discusses risks and vulnerabilities, COVID-19 vaccine information for people at increased risk for severe illness, and how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] is making vaccine recommendations for specific groups of people (e.g. children and teens, teachers, school staff and child care workers, people with specific allergies, disabilities and medical conditions (including immune-compromised individuals).
Education in a Pandemic: The Disparate Impacts of COVID-19 on America's Students: Responds to President Biden’s Executive Order 14000 (01/26/21) calling for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights “to deliver a report as soon as practicable on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on students in elementary, secondary, and higher education, including those attending historically black colleges and universities, and Tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions.” In providing a data-driven account of COVID-19’s disparate impacts on students, “This developing story (June 2021) is organized around eleven observations about how widely—and inequitably—the pandemic appears to have impacted America’s students.”
Questions for Proactive and Equitable Educational Implementation and Questions for Proactive and Equitable Educational Implementations - Associated Resources: Poses proactive questions for decision-makers to address the collective and individual needs of diverse learners in the wake of the disruptive pandemic. COVID-19 has most deeply impacted learners that the education system has disadvantaged. 11 groups — students who are American Indian, Black, and/or identify with other racial and ethnic minority groups, have disabilities, are learning English as a second language, are experiencing homelessness, are low income, in the foster system, identify as LGBTQ, served by migrant education programs, and/or live in rural and remote areas of the country — are less likely to have access to devices and technology, while more likely to experience challenges with housing, food, safety, and social emotional and trauma informed needs. The National Center for Learning Disabilities, the National Education Association, the Center for Black Educator Development, CAST, Education Commission of the States, Learning Ally, Learning Forward, Quality Matters, Southeast Asian Resource Action Center, SchoolHouse Connection, Understood, and UnidosUS developed the Questions guide, and have selected a related set of resources to help educators, school leaders, district administrators, and state and federal policymakers address four key considerations of accessibility, capacity, learning opportunities, and outcomes.
Health Equity Tracker: Advancing Health Equity: Provides a detailed view of health outcomes by race, ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, and other critical factors. Providing county- and state-level information, this database can help illuminate what resources and support affected communities need to be able to improve their outcomes. Prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Equity Tracker was created by the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine to aggregate up-to-date demographic data from the hardest-hit communities. Read a description of the tracker by the Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network.
Equity, Relationships, and Learning: Opportunities for Family, School, and Community Engagement within the American Rescue Plan: Highlights funding opportunities for family, school and community engagement [FSCE] within the March 2021 American Rescue Plan [ARP]. This guide, produced by the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement [NAFSCE], is designed to inform local and district level planning.
Child Trends: COVID-19, Latest Research: Presents research curated by Child Trends researchers to help policymakers, program staff, and parents understand how best to support all children during the pandemic and mitigate the potential harm that this crisis poses to our youngest populations. In presenting selected new research, Child Trends’ blog highlights how the COVID-19 virus is presenting significant challenges for many children, and especially those from low-income families, those in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and those who are homeless or have a disability.
Return to School: Culturally Responsive Practices in Times of Adversity: Shares trauma-informed methods for supporting student well-being during times of adversity, and pertinent research. During this extended COVID-19 emergency, as some students are returning to school buildings while others remain off campus, this 78-minute recorded webinar features practitioners and content experts sharing culturally responsive best practices to support student engagement and well-being.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Reducing Stigma: Defines stigma; explains how fear and anxiety about a disease can lead to social stigma that hurts everyone and is counterproductive; and offers a list of steps communicators can take to help counter stigma during the COVID-19 response.
Shift to At-Home and Online Learning Underscores the Importance of Culturally Responsive Education Practices in Schools: Shares insights from a middle school principal and a Mathematica researcher about disparities that impact learning opportunities for some individuals to continue learning at-home. This one-hour video episode of On the Evidence features insights from research and the field on implementing culturally responsive practices to weaken and surmount social and institutional barriers that inhibit student success.
Three Steps for using Culturally Responsive Practices to Support Equity During Remote Learning: Examines equity and culturally responsive practices in light of COVID-19, part of a collaboration between REL Mid-Atlantic and REL Pacific.
The Needs and Joys of our (Im)migrant* Students, Families and Community Partners: Exploring and Expanding Our School Mental Health Practice: Offers a three-part webinar series and ensuing learning community opportunity for school mental health professionals aimed at improving mental health support and services for K-12 students who are immigrants, newcomers, undocumented or transborder learners in the context of the COVID-19 public health emergency. SAMHSA’s Mental Health Technology Transfer Center [MHTTC] network has selected priming resources to support the learning series. The webpage provides slide decks and reflection tools for each of the three webinars (March, April, and May 2021).
Ensuring Continuity of Learning and Operations (National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition [NCELA]): Develops, collects and shares resource for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to improve learning and the support of English learners and their families during school closures. ED’s National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition [NCELA] invites contributions of pertinent remote learning resources from the public, and offers all vetted and approved resources for free. The Office of English Language Acquisition [OELA] recognizes the unique learning profiles and needs of English learners, and provides these resources to facilitate their education during unplanned school closures.
COVID-19 Information for ELL and Multilingual Families (En español): Presents multilingual resources, compiled and presented by Colorín Colorado, a national multimedia project that offers bilingual, research-based information, activities, and advice for educators and families of English Learners (ELs). These collected resources can help schools and communities communicate more effectively with families of English Learners and immigrant students about COVID-19.
Supporting Young English Learners at Home: Provides an educator’s guide for teaching academic content and literacy to English learners in elementary and middle schools. The nine activity sheets, available in both English and Spanish, are designed to provide simple, fun activities families and caregivers can use with children at home to strengthen language development in either the home language or English.
ED Fact Sheet: Providing Services to English Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Outlines proactive considerations for states to administer for English learners and their families during the new normal of extended school closures and workarounds for remote learning due to COVID-19.
Adapting Instruction for English Learner Students During Distance Learning: Perspectives from Practitioners: Provides an overview of promising practices and resources, and a facilitated question-and-answer session with English learner (EL) teachers and specialists. During this 50-minute REL Southwest webinar, EL practitioners discuss strategies and resources they have used to engage EL students in remote instruction. In addition, they explain how they have collaborated with colleagues remotely and offer ways that local education agencies can support and build the capacity of EL teachers during periods of school closure driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reaching and Teaching English Learners, Newcomer Students, and English Learners with Disabilities During the Pandemic: This recorded webinar from the Region I Equity Assistance Center, Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC) shares how educators are pivoting to make sure that English Learners, including newly arrived immigrants and students with disabilities, receive a high-quality education and other social-emotional supports under current conditions. This webinar featured conversations with expert practitioners and researchers and presents strategies that can be applied in your school or district.
Supporting ELLs Through COVID-19: Extensive bilingual website shares guidance, and lessons learned so far, about distance learning for English language learners (ELL’s); communicating and partnering with families; and social-emotional supports for ELLs and immigrant students.
Serie Formativa: Educacion Remota en Emergencia (Remote Education in Emergency): Hosts a six-part Spanish-language webinar series, produced by the Latin America and Caribbean Reads Capacity Program. The webinar sessions are designed to support educators in transitioning from an in-person curriculum delivery to remote delivery during the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions, in Plain Language: Addresses a variety of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic, drawn from numerous reliable government sources that can be helpful to parents of students. The FAQ has been developed by the PCORI Knowledge Translation Center at American Institutes for Research. Provided as a resource for schools, day care and healthcare organizations, and other public centers to distribute, this resource is designed to make basic health information accessible and comprehensible to everyone, regardless of education level or background. The FAQ is provided in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese.
Return to School Roadmap: Development and Implementation of Individualized Education Programs (Sept. 30, 2021): Details certain Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] requirements related to the development and implementation of individualized education programs [IEPs]. This Q&A document from ED’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Service [OSEP QA 21-06] also offers other information that state educational agencies [SEAs] and local educational agencies [LEAs], regular and special education teachers, related services providers, and parents should consider.
Long COVID under Section 504 and the IDEA: A Resource to Support Children, Students, Educators, Schools, Service Providers, and Families: Provides information about the long-term adverse health effects of COVID-19 (commonly referred to as “long COVID”) as a disability; and about schools’ and public agencies’ responsibilities for the provision of services and reasonable modifications to children and students for whom long COVID is a disability. This resource was issued jointly (07/26/21) by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [OCR] and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services [OSERS]. The discussion here focuses on two Federal laws: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA].
Commemorating the ADA and Announcing a New Resource to Support Students with "Long COVID": Celebrates the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (7/26/90), providing context to introduce a new resource from the Departments of Education [ED] and Health and Human Services [HHS] to address the impact of ongoing health problems related to COVID-19. The new resource: Long COVID under Section 504 and the IDEA: A Resource to Support Children, Students, Educators, Schools, Service Providers, and Families—shows how young children and students of all ages who have long COVID may be entitled to disability-related supports, services, and accommodations under Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Guidance on "Long COVID" as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557: Explains that long COVID can be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA], Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This guidance, jointly issued (07/26/21) by the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services [OCR] and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, also provides resources for additional information and best practices. This document provides a set of questions and answers about “long COVID” and related protections and responsibilities.
New Guidance Reaffirms Importance of Full Implementation of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic: Announces new guidance sent in 8/24/21 letter from Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services [OSERS] to state and local partners affirming ED’s commitment to ensure that, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic or the mode of instruction, children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and that infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families receive early intervention services in the 2021-2022 school year. This letter outlines a series of question and answers (Q&As) as children and students return to in-person learning.
Guidance for Direct Service Providers, Caregivers, Parents, and People with Developmental and Behavioral Disorders (Spanish language version): Addresses special considerations that may be needed for people with developmental and behavioral disorders who have limited mobility, have difficulty accessing information, require close contact with direct service providers [DSP], have trouble understanding information, have difficulties with changes in routines, or have other concerns related to their disability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] has issued this guidance, and notes that it has also issued similar guidance for group homes and direct service providers who provide assistance to people with other disabilities.
OSEP COVID-19 Questions & Answers: Implementation of IDEA Part B Provision of Services: Provides answers to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B provision of services in the current COVID-19 environment.
People with Disabilities (Spanish version): CDC webpage providing information on extra precautions for people with disabilities.
Supporting Students with Intensive Needs During COVID-19: Offers a series of resources to support educators and administrators for students with special needs during COVID-19. Resources offered by the Center on Multi-Tiered System of Supports at the American Institutes for Research cover mathematics intervention examples, reading intervention examples, behavior strategies, data collection and teaming, implementation support, and collaborating with families. Many of the resources were developed by educators participating in a community of practice during the early months of the pandemic in spring 2020. They include example lessons, implementation videos, tip sheets, and data collection strategies.
Social Emotional Learning and Intensive Intervention: Presents an overview of how SEL relates to intensive intervention; and offers sample strategies for skill building among students in need of intensive learning, social, emotional, and behavioral supports. Students who require intensive intervention often have social, emotional, and behavioral challenges (e.g. getting along with others, paying attention, following directions, making responsible decisions, and managing emotions) that impact their ability to succeed in school and community. As schools increasingly use social and emotional learning (SEL) to provide students with a well-rounded education, this 2020 guide from the National Center on Intensive Intervention at the American Institutes for Research puts explicit focus on students with intensive needs within SEL programs.
Going the Distance: Online Strategies for Helping Students with Disabilities: Presents research-based suggestions for educators working online with students who have disabilities. This blog from the REL Mid-Atlantic addresses effective practices that advance distance learning, noting that students with disabilities represent a significant portion of our nation’s school-age learners.
READY NOW - Education Technology Resources to Support Special Education Practitioners and Children and Students with or At Risk for Disabilities: Provides a large set of research-based special education learning aids designed to support education practitioners and/or students with or at risk for disabilities, whether for teaching and learning in person, virtually, or a combination of both. Each tool included in this guide has been evaluated by developers and their collaborators for usability, feasibility, and promise of learning or efficacy.
OCR Short Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility: Offers guidance for providing online education and ensuring website accessibility for students with disabilities for schools utilizing distance learning amid physical school closures (8 minutes).
Support for Kids with ADHD During the Coronavirus Crisis - Cómo apoyar a niños con TDAH durante la crisis del COVID-19 (Spanish language version): Synthesizes suggestions from mental health experts for helping children with ADHD (and their families) to cope and succeed. Child Mind Institute reminds us that, while families are struggling to care for (and homeschool) children cut off from their normal routines and activities, those who have ADHD may need extra structure and support to manage attention and behavior challenges and keep on track with learning in this challenging situation.
Plan and Deliver: Educating Students with Disabilities in Remote Settings: Focuses on adapting instruction to distance learning platforms to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. Provides guidance on pertinent legal requirements, and how to think about accessibility for remote learning in new ways to plan and deliver remote instruction for those students. with disabilities. REL Midwest draws on evidence-based practices from traditional school settings and adapts them for remote and online environments. This blog entry also includes free resources from the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Centers of ED’s Office of Special Education Programs [OSEP].
Distance Learning for Special Education: Provides resources from over 1,800 educators and specialists to support the needs of students with significant disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the move to online instruction. These resources are open source and can be adapted to fit a variety of needs.
Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times: Presents seven support strategies designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with autism during COVID-19’s period of uncertainty. The Frank Porter Graham Child Development (UNC-Chapel Hill) Autism Team provides examples and ready-made resources to help caregivers implement the strategies easily. Included materials purposely represent a variety of styles/designs/complexity to model the range of what may be most meaningful across ages and skills, and to demonstrate what can be generated, with few materials, by busy caregivers.
This Is Your Shot - COVID-19 Native Youth Vaccination Toolkit (Updated September 2021): Provides American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) access to factual information about COVID-19 vaccines. This toolkit, developed by the National Congress of American Indians [NCAI] and the National Education Association [NEA] using information gathered from Indian Health Service [IHS] and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], also includes social media graphics and sample posts that may be shared with families, friends, schools, communities, organizations, Tribal Nations, and other networks.
Staying Safe and Mentally Well During COVID-19: One-page tip sheet from the Center for American Indian Health at Johns Hopkins University offers suggestions for exercising mental health and relieving stress, based on input from the CDC and NIDA.
Double Jeopardy: COVID-19 and Behavioral Health Disparities for Black and Latino Communities in the U.S.: Shares data from CDC, the US Census Bureau and Kaiser Family Foundation indicating disproportionate negative impacts of the pandemic on communities of color. This resource from SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity [OBHE] offers an extensive set of recommended actions, with associated resources, that can help to address significant obstacles to adequate behavioral health treatment, services and supports for Black and Latino Americans.
How the Navajo's Cultural Values Are Driving COVID Vaccinations: Describes culturally rooted appeals and methods that have mobilized the nation’s largest tribal nation to achieve the highest vaccination rates of any major racial or ethnic group in the United States. Like many other tribal nations, the Navajo people have had to embrace Western science to reclaim their social customs and ceremonies. In this October 2021 interview with Medscape, Dr. Mary Hasbah Roessel described the partnerships that have mobilized the Navajo Nation’s population to get vaccinated.
People of Color Create Their Own Mental Health Services On-Line: Describes five examples of mental health platforms, apps, and organizations that people of color have created to support the well-being of their communities. As our nation’s current mental health workforce is predominantly White, access to mental health services for people of color can be hindered by socioeconomics, stigma, language, or cultural barriers. Some Black, Latinx, Asian American and Native American people have created digital spaces and organizations to address mental health needs of their communities.
Twitter Analysis Can Help Practitioners, Policymakers and Researchers Better Understand Topics Relevant to American Indian/Alaska Native [AI/AN] Youth: Provides an overview of learnings from a recent analysis of Twitter engagement around AI/AN-focused hashtags. Child Trends’ interactive data visualization displays the top 50 hashtags for each month between January 2015 through July 2020. The brief shares key implications for practitioners and policy stakeholders who work with AI/AN communities, or on issues relevant to these communities; and includes recommendations for interpreting these Twitter data.
National Indian Child Welfare Association COVID-19 Resource Page: Includes information for frontline workers, children, families/caregivers, and system leaders (including webinar/learning and grant opportunities), a large section of pertinent federal guidance, and links to numerous additional selected resources.
COVID-19 Cases by IHS Area: Reports data from Indian Health Service [IHS], tribal and urban Indian organization facilities on number of COVID-19 tests completed, and positive and negative test results, that can help inform local planning for social distancing, school reopening, and gatherings of many individuals.
FindHelp.org: Presents a meaningful on-line search tool inviting families to search for free (or reduced) cost services (e.g. medical care, food, housing, education, transportation, job training, legal aid) by zip code. Specific COVID-19-related programs and services are also currently featured. This tool, curated by Aunt Bertha, a Public Benefit Corporation, can be used (along with 211.org) by school social workers to link students and families to instrumental support through the current emergency.
2-1-1 -- United Way: Connects visitors to a community resource specialist in the local area who can help to find critical resources and services that can improve - and save - lives. Through a toll-free call to 2-1-1, or a visit to the website, one can find information about:
- Supplemental food and nutrition programs
- Shelter and housing options and utilities assistance
- Emergency information and disaster relief
- Employment and education opportunities
- Services for veterans
- Health care, vaccination and health epidemic information
- Addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs
- Reentry help for ex-offenders
- Support groups for individuals with mental illnesses or special needs
- A safe, confidential path out of physical and/or emotional domestic abuse.
Supports for Students and Families Experiencing Homelessness During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Provides K-12 schools, school districts, regional education agencies, state education agencies, and their community partners with information on supporting students and families experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the REMS TA Center offers an overview of data on students and families experiencing homelessness and of homelessness resources available to students and families. The National Center for Homeless Education shares considerations for students experiencing homelessness that education agencies should address; while SchoolHouse Connection highlights common challenges faced by education agencies and solutions.
Youth Experiencing Homelessness: How to Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19: Provides official guidance from the CDC to help protect young people experiencing homeless, those they care about, and those who care for them as safe as possible in light of the threat posed by COVID-19.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - COVID-19 Information and Resources: Serves as the central webpage for Housing and Urban Development COVID-19-related information and resources. The site provides resources for renters, homeowners, and HUD partners, as well as contacts for people experiencing homelessness or those who need free housing help.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - COVID-19 Resources for HUD Partners: Lists resources for Housing and Urban Development partners, programs, and grantees, featuring vaccine access and COVID-19 testing resources.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Coronavirus Resources: Public Housing Agencies: Contents of this webpage include:
- Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit
- CDC Eviction Moratorium (most protections appear to have expired effective 7/31/21)
- PHA and Transit Agency Partnership Resources
- COVID-19 Toolkit
- Policy Notices
- Resident Information
- Letters From HUD
COVID-19 (Office of Public & Indian Housing Authority) PIH Quick Guide: Provides public housing agencies (PHAs) and tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) with considerations as they develop strategies to address the impact of the pandemic on their staff, residents, communities, and stakeholders.
COVID-19 Interaction Playbook for Housing Partners: This playbook offers promising practices for common interactions and new business situations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It seeks to create a safer environment through social distancing and to ensure the safe distribution of goods and services to prevent the further spread of COVID-19; and to mitigate the health risks on staff, residents, service providers, and landlords.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Eviction Moratorium FAQs for HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing (updated 11/18/20): Provides guidance for families assisted under PIH programs on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19 Notice and Order that imposes a temporary halt in residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 between September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
COVID-19-Related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Public Housing Agencies (PHAs): Addresses concerns and FAQs for public housing agencies. This document from the Office of Public and Indian Housing addresses emergency preparedness, eviction moratorium, operational concerns, resident health, eligible use of funds, and grant administration.
HUD Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) - COVID-19 FAQs for Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs): Assists Tribes and TDHEs while they navigate the impact of COVID-19 on their day-to-day housing functions. The FAQs address emergency funding, key COVID-19 information resources, reporting extensions and waivers, and emergency operations and tribal policies.
COVID-19 Resources for Native Americans: Lists COVID-19 resources from Native Americans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, specifically focused on Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG-ARP) and Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG-ARP).
Indian Housing Block Grant - American Rescue Plan Implementation Notice (HUD Office of Native American Programs [ONAP] (April 14, 2021): Informs tribal leaders of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ARP included $450 million for the Indian Housing Block Grant program (referred to as IHBG-ARP). Funds were allocated based on FY 2021 IHBG formula allocations before repayments and grant adjustments. This letter links to HUD’s IHBG-ARP Implementation Notice, which provides instructions on how to apply for IHBG-ARP funding.
The Forgotten Students: COVID-19 Response for Youth and Young Adults Aging Out of Foster Care: Examines how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis continues to pose a significant threat to youth and young adults aging out of foster care. After describing and documenting the main concerns, this Third Way report poses a set of policy recommendations for Congress and the federal government to consider, to strengthen essential supports for this vulnerable population.
COVID-19 (ABA Legal Center for Foster Care and Education): Offers four resources to assist local jurisdictions with education for youth in foster care during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Tip Sheet for School Districts Re: COVID-19 and Students in Foster Care
- Education Addressed in Court Proceedings during COVID-19
- Education During COVID-19: What Child Welfare Agencies Can Do to Help
- Preparing for the New School Year During COVID-19: A Checklist for LEAs and Child Welfare Agencies
The final resource can guide LEAs and child welfare agencies on topics such as information sharing, collaborating, supporting students and caregivers, accessing technology, special education, and making educational decisions for students in foster care. The checklist also includes tips and considerations for LEAs and child welfare agencies for specific learning models (in-person, hybrid, or distance learning).
Supporting Youth in Foster Care Through the Pandemic: Provides information for youth and professionals on eligibility and application information for federal COVID-19 financial relief specifically intended to assist youth and young adults transitioning out of foster care. The COVID-19 public health emergency has put children, youth, and families at risk. Federal funding through the Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act (P.L. 116-260) provides state, tribal and county child welfare agencies with time-limited resources to respond to some of the needs of youth and young adults under the age of 27 and who experienced foster care after the age of 14. These pandemic relief funds are intended to help those young people with mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, car loans, groceries, and other basic needs.
Examining the Relationship Between LGBTQ-Supportive School Health Policies and Practices and Psychological Health Outcomes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Students: Analyzes empirical demonstration of positive impacts that school policies and practices supportive of LGBTQ youth have on the psychosocial health of youth who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) and their heterosexual peers. Professionals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] co-authored this 2021 examination of six specific LGBTQ-supportive school policies and practices that promote protective factors. Their study highlights how LGBTQ-supportive school policies and practices are associated with better psychosocial health outcomes among both LGB and heterosexual students.
State-level Data Show Schools Can Facilitate LGBTQ Students' Access to Relevant Physical Health Services: Provides empirical evidence showing how schools can reduce health inequities experienced by LGBTQ youth by ensuring that youth have access to providers with expertise in addressing their unique needs. This blog entry from Child Trends describes characteristics of affirming health care, and advises that “particular attention should be paid to meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth of color, who often experience racism in addition to discrimination based on sexuality—even within LGBTQ-inclusive health care settings.”
Schools Can Reduce Barriers to Mental Health Access by Ensuring That Services Are Supportive of LGBTQ Youth: Analyzes data from recent CDC School Health Profiles, and finds that 35 states and DC reported that over 50% of their secondary schools facilitated student access to off-campus social and psychological service providers with experience treating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The data analysis pertains to Child Trends’ concludes guidance that educators and policymakers must recognize the need to address the pandemic’s social, emotional, and behavioral effects on children and youth; and that, to ensure that LGBTQ youth feel emotionally and physically safe enough to engage in mental health services, they must have access to mental health providers who affirm their identities.
How to Support Kids Who Are Questioning (en español): Discusses how families can support children and adolescents who are questioning their gender identity and sexual orientation. This column for the Child Mind Institute’s family resource center addresses three questions: What does it mean for a child to be questioning? What mental health risks do questioning kids face? How can families support kids who are questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation?
How to Support LGBTQ Children (en español): Discusses how families can support children and adolescents who are coming out as LGBTQ. This column for the Child Mind Institute’s family resource center addresses three questions: How can families best support LGBTQ kids? How can parents help keep LGBTQ kids safe? What are some common challenges for LGBTQ young people?
LGBTQ TA Center: Trauma: Provides an overview of trauma, resilience, and the elements of a trauma-informed approach. This one-page brief from the LGBTQ TA Center of the California Reducing Disparities Project [CRDP] includes specific examples of how trauma can impact LGBTQ+ people. Written primarily for behavioral health service providers, this document should be shared with all who can benefit from a basic understanding of trauma through an LGBTQ+ lens.
LGBTQ Youth and Family Resources to Decrease Mental Health Risks & Promote Well-Being: Collects resources and offers communication mechanisms intended to increase family and community support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified (LGBTQ) children and youth, to decrease health and mental health risks and to promote well-being. LGBTQ youth are at high risk for health and mental health problems related to social stigma. COVID-19 has significantly increased isolation and mental health risks, constituting a national emergency for children and adolescent mental health that requires a coordinated response. This website is managed through a partnership of the Family Acceptance Project and the Institute for Innovation & Implementation (University of Maryland); and is funded by the Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health, a collaborative fund powered by Panorama.
Statement by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra Reaffirming HHS Support and Protection for LGBTQI+ Children and Youth: Reaffirms federal support and protection for LGBTQI+ children and youth (in response to gubernatorial order in Texas (2/2/22) that classified gender-affirming care as “child abuse”). Secretary Bacerra stated that “I directed my team to evaluate the tools at our disposal to protect trans and gender diverse youth in Texas, and today I am announcing several steps we can take to protect them.” This statement details several new HHS actions, including new (3/2/22) guidance to state child welfare agencies and for health care providers. Bacerra advised, “If you believe that you or another party has been discriminated against on the basis of gender identity or disability in seeking to access gender affirming health care, visit the OCR complaint portal to file a complaint online. If you have questions regarding patient privacy laws, please reach out to the Office for Civil Rights email: OCRPrivacy@hhs.gov or call Toll-free: (800) 368-1019.” This statement provides links to several pertinent information resources.
HHS Notice and Guidance on Gender Affirming Care, Civil Rights, and Patient Privacy: States clearly that gender affirming care for minors, when medically appropriate and necessary, improves their physical and mental health. In issuing updated (3/2/22) guidance, the US DHHS Office for Civil Rights [OCR] emphasizes its commitment to ensure that transgender and gender nonconforming youth are able to access health care free from the burden of discrimination. “HHS understands that many families and health care providers are facing fear and concerns about attempts to portray gender affirming care as abuse. To help these families and providers navigate those concerns, HHS has provided this additional information on federal civil rights protections and federal health privacy laws that apply to gender affirming care.
The Trauma-Focused CBT and Family Acceptance Project: An Integrated Framework for Children and Youth: Describes integration of the long-recognized TF-CBT model with the family support model that has been refined since 2002 by the Family Acceptance Project, and the strong evidence that supports the new integrated framework for trauma recovery for LGBTQ youth. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened vulnerability for sexual and gender minority (SGM) children and youth by confining them with rejecting and abusive family members, separating them from supportive peers and adults outside the home, and resulting in the sudden death of family members and cultural leaders. This combined treatment approach can play a crucial role in recovery.
National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health 2021: Examines challenges for many LGBTQ youth (ages 13-24) based on nearly 35,000 responses to the Trevor Project’s third annual national survey. Survey findings provide new data on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health care disparities, discrimination, food insecurity, conversion therapy and suicide; in addition to the benefits of LGBTQ-affirming spaces.
The Power of Listening: Shares an interview (June 2021) with the Trevor Project’s Sam Brinton about LGBTQ student mental health, by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Lived Experience Advisory Committee. Mr. Brinton discusses salient findings from the Trevor Project’s third annual national survey on LGBTQ youth mental health.
Implications of COVID-19 for LGBTQ Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: Outlines ways that physical distancing, economic strain, and increased anxiety related to COVID-19 may impact LGBTQ youth, and suggests way to minimize deleterious impacts by increasing access for students to a wide range of supports and resources. This product of the Trevor Project is predicated on, and cites, well-documented research. The website also presents findings of Trevor’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health.
When School Goes Remote, Many LGBTQ Students Lose a Safe Space: Explains a dimension of loss that many LGBTQ students have expressed because of pandemic-driven social distancing policies, specifically extended school closures. According to Amy Green of the Trevor Project, “Schools are the most affirming environment that most LGBTQ youth have in their lives.” Education Week’s nationally representative survey of 2,000 high school students (January/February 2021) found that 83% of LGBTQ teenagers said they are experiencing more problems in school than they did before the pandemic, compared to 69 percent of heterosexual high schoolers. This article identifies some basic actions and strategies to address the needs of LGBTQ students.
Going Back to School During COVID-19: Military Kids Connect: Provides resources and tips that may be helpful as students get back into the new school year. This blog offers tips for learning engagement, physical activity, and tutoring resources.
Blue Star Families COVID-19 Resources: Blue Star Families is a vibrant national organization supporting our nation’s military and veteran families. In conjunction with the American Red Cross, Blue Star Families maintains this comprehensive online resource collection featuring numerous guides, videos, first-hand stories, resource locators (e.g. vaccination sites) and other items intended to protect the health, safety and well-being of our Blue Star Families in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting Military-Connected Youth and Families During COVID-19: In partnership with the U.S. Armed Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of America [BGCA] help military youth access specialized opportunities, cultivate lifelong friendships and develop the resilience they need to build great futures. This column describes that commitment, and links to the BGCA webpage that supports the organization’s national strategy to support young people during COVID-19.
8 Ways COVID-19 has Affected Military & Veteran Families, Booz Allen (sponsor of the COVID-19 Military Support Initiative): Reviews research findings about well-being and concerns of military and veteran families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Research revealed that many pre-existing issues facing the military community have been intensified during the pandemic.
The Military Family Experience 2021: Path to Recovery: Reports findings of large-scale survey. Multiple formats: infographics, video, and links to excellent related resources (e.g. Special Report: Caregiving in Military Families (June 2021 in collaboration with the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers).
Pandemic Magnifies Problems for Military Families (AARP, May 2021): Findings come from nearly 11,000 military families worldwide who were polled in September and October 2020. Some of the key issues explored by the wide-ranging survey include: time away from family; mental health; military spouses and employment; discrimination; and more.
Military One Source, COVID-19 Resources: Offers up-to-date information, resources and answers regarding the impact of COVID-10 on military life. This page includes guidance from the Department of Defense, FAQs, and blog-based updates.
Military One Source, For Military Youth and Teens - The Essentials: It’s especially important to engage military youth and teens in wholesome interests in which they feel safe and grounded. Military OneSource offers several ways youth and teens can build a sense of community, helping you keep your family strong.
Military One Source, Preventing Abuse & Neglect: Informs military members about the Family Advocacy Program, including how to connect with a victim advocate near you, for help with domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect, or problematic sexual behavior in children and youth.
National Military Family Association, What Military Families Need to Know about COVID-19: Provides information and resources from the National Military Family Association about access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing. The webpage also links to TRICARE military health care plan information.
Free Respite Relief Program Provides Aid to Military Caregivers Amid Pandemic (February 2021): The American Association for Retired Persons [AARP] and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation are assisting those caring for injured veterans and service members by providing a no-cost ”Hidden Heroes” Respite Relief Program for Military and Veteran Caregivers. For those who are caring for a wounded, ill or injured veteran or service member during COVID-19, CareLinx can provide intervals of rest and relief through qualified in-home respite care providers, and national outreach support by AARP and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Health Coverage Options for Afghan Evacuees: Releases an updated fact sheet, based on recent legislative changes, to help states and advocacy organizations understand what health coverage options are available to Afghan evacuees. The Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] clarifies that Afghan evacuees in the U.S. are eligible for health coverage through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program [CHIP], the Health Insurance Marketplace, or refugee medical assistance [RMA] or other health coverage provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement [ORR]. RMA is provided through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and administered in most cases by state Medicaid programs. Eligibility for each coverage program depends on the state where an evacuee is residing, and the eligibility criteria for the respective program.
Dear Colleague Letter (ED 01/14/22 re Welcome for Resettling Afghan Evacuees): Details information about federal funds and resources available to support Afghan children and families who have recently arrived/arriving soon to states and districts. As part of Operation Allies Welcome, the U.S. Department of Education recognizes the urgent need to provide high-quality, culturally responsive education to Afghan newcomers. Secretary Cardona’s letter to Chief State School Officers affirms these students’ equal right to enroll and participate in public schools. (Although the letter is specific to Afghan children and their families, the information also applies to children and families arriving from other countries.) It contains resources LEAs may use to fulfill their obligations to provide students with free public education and determine eligibility for and offer services to students with limited English proficiency and/or disabilities. Readers are encouraged to visit the Keeping the Promise website, and to refer any questions to KeepingthePromise@ed.gov.
Guidance for Title IV-B and IV-E Agencies When Serving LGBTQI+ Children and Youth: Identifies and explains Titles IV-B and IV-E (of the Social Security Act) program requirements that state, county, and tribal child welfare agencies and their federally funded contractors (“Title IV-B and IV-E agencies”) can use to guide their work when determining how best to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI+1 ) children and youth, including those with non-conforming gender identity or expression who are involved with the child welfare system. This 3/2/22 informational memorandum was issued by US DHHS Administration for Children and Families (Children’s Bureau) to State, Tribal, and Territorial Agencies Administering Title IV-B and IV-e programs.
COVID-19 State Child Welfare and Related Health Resources: Provides a list of websites that focus on state-specific guidelines and responses to the COVID-19 emergency. 2-1-1, a free social services hotline, is also a central point of contact for information and referrals on COVID-19. The federal Administration for Children and Families maintains this national resource, and advises that, for additional information, you may visit its Disaster Preparedness & Response webpage at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/management/disaster-preparedness/.
ACF COVID-19 Response & Resources: Provides curated resources and information for the federal Administration for Children and Families [ACF]'s mission-related issues and programs affected by COVID-19. As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to evolve, ACF provides links to the latest CDC information and pertinent federal guidance, along with relevant resources to support grantees, partners, and stakeholders support children, families, and communities in need during this challenging time.
Second Step Recommendations for Teaching Remotely - Child Protection Unit: Guides adaptation of the Second Step® child protection unit curriculum to the context of remote learning. This curriculum from the Committee for Children is available for students in Pre-K through elementary grade levels.
Child Welfare: Pandemic Posed Challenges, but also Created Opportunities for Agencies to Enhance Future Operations (GAO-21-483): Examines how child welfare agencies have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Government Accountability Office [GAO] surveyed administrators in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Officials reported declines in child abuse reports and concerns about unreported cases, as children had less contact with mandated reporters such as teachers. The pandemic also delayed child welfare hearings. At the same time, officials in most areas reported using federal relief funds to provide families with assistance (e.g. formula and diapers). They have expanded, and may continue after the pandemic abates, to provide virtual services, such as for visits between children in foster care and biological families.
Protecting Children During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Shares most recent data and informative updates to protect children from COVID-19 and related risks of violence. The End Violence Against Children community emphasizes the vulnerability of children during this time while addressing short-term and far-reaching implications impacting individuals’ work.
COVID-19: Heightened Risk of Abuse and Neglect: Summarizes how child protection risks (physical and emotional maltreatment, gender-based violence, mental health and psycho-social distress, child labor, unaccompanied and separated children, and social exclusion) can be aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related social distancing and other control measures. This brief from the Children's Law Center at the University of South Carolina can inform ongoing vigilance of mandated reporters (including educators) and other community members.
Preventing and Responding to Family Violence During COVID-19: Webinar Series: Provides archived recordings, FAQ documents and slide decks for each session in a 4-part on-line series produced for SAMHSA by the MHTTC Network and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Via telehealth, providers are getting a glimpse into clients’ home lives and they are encountering complex family interactions all during a time of stress and danger, with community supports challenged to respond. Webinars in this series use case examples and dialogue between experts from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) to address critical questions that mental health providers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Webinar topics in the series included: Supporting Families of Young Children at Risk for Ongoing Domestic Violence; Addressing Family Conflict in the Time of COVID-19; Minimizing Risk for Conflict/Coercion in Families with School-Age Children; and (en español) When the Monsters Live with Us: Reflections on the Intersection of Structural Inequities, COVID-19 and Intimate Partner Violence and its impact on Young Children in Latin American Families. Experts devoted the first segment of each hour-long session to a specific topic, and then addressed questions submitted by registrants.
Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse Considerations During COVID-19: Expresses concern about potential for a dramatic rise in incidence of intimate partner violence, and of physical abuse and neglect of children by parents, as a result of increased household stress levels, and diminished support systems due to social distancing and quarantine during COVID-19. This short SAMHSA document identifies options for actions by law enforcement, schools, businesses and health care practitioners to prevent and address intimate partner violence and child abuse health concerns. Numerous information resources, learning opportunities recorded for playback, and national organization resources are identified and hyperlinked for easy retrieval.
Hidden Consequences: How the COVID Pandemic Is Impacting Children (Webinar: Child Emotional and Social Effects): Discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic may be affecting children. This second webinar on 10/16/20 was the second in a four-part series whose topics include impacts on child health and wellness, child emotional and social effects, the impact of COVID-19 on children with special healthcare needs, and how secondary/other disasters may affect children during the pandemic. Produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE), this second webinar focused on the emotional and social effects of COVID-19 on children. Speakers discussed food and financial insecurity, racial disparities, the impact of social determinants on children's health, return to school and daycare, and alternate childcare, child health and wellness. The first slide in this slide deck includes a link to the recorded 75-minute webinar.
Survivors Know Best - How to Disrupt Intimate Partner Violence During COVID-19 and Beyond: Reports findings from a survey of 1,300 survivors of intimate partner violence [IPV] who have participated in the Safety Fund, a grant program by the non-profit FreeForm organization. The report details the human and financial costs of domestic violence on survivors, and documents how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated domestic violence and complicated typical support ecosystems. It outlines cost-effective approaches to address survivors’ needs, and identifies that religious organizations, banks, credit card companies, employers and health insurance companies can all play constructive roles in enhancing the ecosystem to support survivors, including their dependent children.
Preventing Abuse and Neglect: Student Safety During Coronavirus-Related Ordered School-Building Closure: Provides guidance and resources to help school districts ensure student safety during remote learning by empowering educators and school personnel to support families, assess student safety needs and follow mandatory reporting requirements. This Ohio Department of Education webpage also provides information and resources to support educators and student personnel in following mandatory reporting requirements.
Zero Abuse Project: Offers education and training resources, opportunities, and research to contribute to the elimination of child sexual abuse. In particular, Zero Abuse Project is providing specific resources (e.g. Conducting and Defending a Pandemic-Era Forensic Interview) to support its mission in the context of school closures and social distancing.
Resources for Parents and Caregivers to Help Keep Children Safe: Incorporates up to date resources for parents and caregivers to help workaround cautionary signs in others and themselves, along with additional information for how to respond safely and responsibly. Numerous videos intended to help adults navigate warning signs in themselves and others are among dozens of resources linked to this Stop It Now! website.
COVID-19 Parenting: Keeping Children Safe Online: Highlights risks of the digital world and efforts children can take to protect themselves as part of a collaborative effort by multiple federal organizations.
Joint Letter to Promote Family Strengthening and Virtual Primary Prevention During COVID-19 and Beyond: Encourages family support, maternal and child health, and early childhood programs (including Head Start, home visiting, early intervention, and other early care and learning programs) to promote family strengthening and prevention strategies via virtual, electronic, telephonic, or other safe means during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two federal agencies – the Administration for Children and Families [ACF], and the Health Resources and Services Administration [HRSA] – suggest collaborative strategies that states, tribal entities and grantees can use during the national emergency to engage and support the whole family. The letter includes an appendix of Selected Resources for Primary Prevention to Strengthen Families and Support the Whole Family.
Mandated Reporting: Information for School Staff During ‘Safer at Home’: Provides specific contextual considerations for Wisconsin school employees who are designated “mandated reporters” by state law. This two-page resource summarizes signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, cautions about not jumping to conclusions before considering familial and household stressors, offers guidance to support appropriate and helpful conversation with students and caregivers to enable better understanding and to provide support, and directs required reporting to county or tribal child welfare agencies.
Responding to Child Abuse During a Pandemic: 25 Tips for MDTs: Offers a list of tips from the Zero Abuse Project to assist multi-disciplinary teams in responding to child abuse during the pandemic outbreak.
Hidden Consequences: How the COVID Pandemic is Impacting Children (Webinar: Child Health and Wellness): Discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic may be affecting children. This first webinar on 9/30/20 was the first in a four-part series whose topics include impacts on child health and wellness, child emotional and social effects, the impact of COVID-19 on children with special healthcare needs, and how secondary/other disasters may affect children during the pandemic. Produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE), this first webinar focused on child health and wellness. Panelists discussed resumption of routine care, missed immunizations, lead poisoning screening, sleep, and child neglect and abuse. The first slide in this slide deck includes a link to the recorded 75-minute webinar.
COVID-19 OBSSR Research Tools: Lists and links to data collection instruments, including surveys, for assessing COVID-19-related behavioral and social sciences domains for clinical and population research. The National Institutes of Health [NIH] Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research has compiled this table, whose contents can be accessed to detect/identify physical and mental health impacts of the pandemic and its consequences. Included tools can support screening among students, families and even educators as a predicate to arranging responsive treatment and support when indicated.
Telehealth and the Underserved: Summarizes actions the Federal Government has taken since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to expand telehealth services and reduce barriers to optimize access to health care for patients across the nation. The Health Resources and Services Administration [HRSA] created this 5-minute video in conjunction with its May 2022 National Telehealth Conference.
Fiscal Considerations for the Future of Telehealth: Examines health and fiscal implications of adding telehealth services to the nation’s long-term (i.e. post-pandemic) “menu of care.” This April 2022 analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget offers an informative narrative about “the state of play for telehealth coverage” from pre-pandemic times, updating readers that federal telehealth waivers that have been repeatedly extended along with extensions of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency [PHE] were recently extended until July 15, 2022; and that the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill signed in March allows for the telehealth waivers to extend 151 days after the PHE ends.
School Counseling During COVID-19: Provides guidance and materials to support school counselors to provide effective services and supports to students during COVID-19-related school shutdowns and student absences, with complementary materials for parents. The American School Counselor Association [ASCA] furnishes three tailored toolkits:
- Virtual Elementary School Counseling
- Virtual Middle School Counseling
- Virtual High School Counseling
Telehealth Toolbox for School Personnel: Offers a practical and concise guide for mental health providers to incorporate telehealth into their routines as providers working with students. The online toolbox for building telehealth capacity is provided by the Mid-America Mental Health Technology Transfer Center through its contract with SAMHSA.
Affordable Connectivity Program [ACP]: Offers helps to many low income households to pay for broadband service and internet connected devices. Eligible households have incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, or include members who receive a government benefit like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Pell Grant, or Free and Reduced-Price Lunch. Eligible households could receive:
- Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service
- Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with $10-50 co-payment)
- A low-cost service plan that may be fully covered through the ACP*
Through a separate non-FCC initiative, additional no cost plans may be available to Affordable Connectivity Program enrollees. To learn more please visit www.GetInternet.gov. The Affordable Connectivity Program is administered by Universal Service Administrative Company [USAC] with oversight from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). AffordableConnectivity.Gov is an official website of the United States government.
Experts Plead for More Pediatric Telehealth: Reports the position statement of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics calling for state and federal policies to support continued use of video and telephone for home-based diagnostic assessments, medication management follow-ups, and therapeutic interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other neurodevelopmental conditions. Pandemic-related government policies that have allowed care to be provided remotely via telehealth have allowed patients to have video visits in their own home, lifted provider licensure requirements for visits across state lines, and allowed reimbursement not only for video visits but also for telephone encounters. The January 2022 paper asserts that developmental and behavioral pediatrics now recognizes telehealth as a viable, useful model of care for children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
States Expand Medicaid Reimbursement of School-Based Telehealth Services: Highlights the types of school-based telehealth services that states reimbursed through Medicaid prior to COVID-19, and policy changes during the pandemic. This May 2021 issue brief by the National Academy for State Health Policy discusses those policies and key considerations for states during and beyond the pandemic. The issue brief also links to a concise state-by-state chart showing the range of Medicaid-covered telehealth services in schools, with hyperlinks to each state’s guidance documents supporting that reimbursement (Medicaid-Reimbursable School-Based Telehealth Services)
CMS Physician Payment Rule Promotes Greater Access to Telehealth Services, Diabetes Prevention Programs: Announces CMS’ new Calendar Year (CY) 2022 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule that will promote greater use of telehealth and other telecommunications technologies for providing behavioral health care services, and will boost payment rates for vaccine administration. The new rule (November 2021) means counseling and therapy services, including treatment of substance use disorders, will be more readily available to individuals, especially in areas with poor broadband infrastructure. Click here to access a fact sheet CMS has developed about the new rule; and access the full (more than 2,400 pages) rule here.
Telehealth Learning Series for SUD Treatment and Recovery Support Providers: Provides a (free) national online discussion and resource sharing opportunity for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment providers and peer support specialists who are transitioning their services to the use of telephone and video-conferencing methods in response to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. This website archives webinars and training presentations, curated tools, forms and other resources, and a Frequently Asked Questions and Recommended Resources document contributed by SAMHSA’s Addiction Technology Transfer Center [ATTC] Network, the Center for Excellence on Protected Health Information [CoE-PHI], the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers, and the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies [CASAT] at the University of Nevada - Reno.
Pediatric Mental Health Care Access (PMHCA) and the American Rescue Plan Act - Pediatric Mental Health Care Access - New Area Expansion (ARP-PMHCA) Programs: Announces expansion of Pediatric Mental Health Care Access (PMHCA) projects into new states and geographic areas, including tribal areas. Through these programs, new state and regional networks of pediatric mental health care teams can now provide tele-consultations, training, technical assistance and care coordination for pediatric primary care providers to diagnose, treat and refer children and youth with mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Recent grant awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration [HRSA]’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau [MCHB] have increased the number of such networks from 21 to 46 projects throughout the country. Visit this webpage to identify the project in your vicinity, and for contact information and a summary of each funded tele-mental health project.
Practice Guidelines for Telemental Health with Children and Adolescents: Provides clinical guidance for the delivery of child and adolescent mental health and behavioral services by licensed health care providers using real time videoconferencing. This guidance, synthesized and produced by the American TeleMedicine Association [ATA], is based on a growing evidence base and expert consensus. The resource includes sections relevant across the age spectrum addressing ethical considerations; telemental health competencies; clinical supervision and telemental health; and future directions.State Medicaid and CHIP Telehealth Tool Kit: Identifies policy topics that states should address to facilitate widespread adoption of telehealth services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued this updated toolkit to help states identify policies that may impede the rapid deployment of telehealth, to help ensure that Americans (e.g. students) can access the health care services they need through electronic and virtual means, minimizing travel to healthcare facilities and supporting efforts to limit community spread of the virus.
COVID-19 Telehealth Resources: Provides an ongoing list of COVID-19 telehealth resources from the School-Based Health Alliance, including a webinar series, telehealth essentials checklist, and program development kit.
Quick Facts on Telehealth in Schools: Reports research findings and parent perspectives about use of technology to deliver health care and mental health services to students remotely. The Child Mind Institute shows how telehealth has, during the pandemic, already demonstrated great promise in expanding access to important health care services for minority students, and those in rural, marginalized, and low-income communities.General Provider Telehealth and Telemedicine Tool Kit: Contains resources from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) related to telehealth and telemedicine, including waiver information related to COVID-19, as well as general policy and set-up/implementation guidance from CMS.
Virtual Service Delivery in Response to COVID-19 Disruptions: Provides guidance to school psychologists to support their provision of services to students with respect to technology, record keeping, privacy, and validity of measures. The National Association of School Psychologists [NASP] encourages school psychologists to strive to ensure all students have equitable access to mental health and other school psychological services provided remotely, mindful of special considerations for students with disabilities, students from low-income economically marginalized communities, students in rural areas, and students in unstable home environments.Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet: Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services: Offers information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on broadened access to Medicare telehealth services in response to COVID-19.
Checklist for Initiating Telehealth Services Provides prompts for questions a program should consider an implementing a new tele-health site or program. This tool, furnished by the Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center [gpTRAC], can be used by schools and community-partnered mental health agencies to guide establishment and launch of initial and expanded telehealth services.
Making a Good Connection: Engaging Students and Families in School Tele-Mental Health: Archives a three-part webinar series geared toward providers making the transition from in-person to telehealth services. Session content focused on practical strategies and equity concerns related to engaging children, adolescents and families using distance technology. This website of SAMHSA’s Mental Health Technology Transfer Center [MHTTC] Network includes webinar session recordings and slides, and related FAQs and resource materials.
Planning for Virtual/Distance School Counseling During an Emergency Shutdown: Explains how schools can deliver comprehensive virtual school counseling programs during emergency school closures. The American School Counselor Association recommends that school counselors continue to teach the school counseling curriculum as much as possible, but prioritize the most critical academic, career, and social-emotional lessons.
Clinical Innovations in Telehealth Learning Series Offered a 4-session on-line series of learning events in May-June 2020 targeting high-priority clinical issues for providers using telehealth. The learning series was produced by SAMHSA’s MHTTC Network. Experts in clinical care and telehealth devoted the first segment of each hour-long session to a specific topic, then addressed questions submitted by registrants. This site now hosts recordings of the four presentations, and accompanying resources, including an FAQ document.
COVID-19 Related State Actions: Includes updated actions to remove telehealth barriers broken down by state, compiled by the National Telehealth Policy Resource Center, Center for Connected Health Policy.
Current Telehealth-Related State Laws and Reimbursement Policies: Includes information on telehealth-related laws, regulation and Medicaid programs in all fifty states and the District of Columbia from the National Telehealth Policy Resource Center, Center for Connected Health Policy.
Office and Technology Checklist for Tele-Psychological Services: Provides a checklist to determine whether video-conferencing services are appropriate for an individual, of technology considerations, for set-up, preparing for and undertaking therapeutic sessions. The American Psychological Association published this checklist as the COVID-19 national emergency began in March 2020.
Telehealth Tips: Managing Suicidal Clients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Provides tips for evaluating and treating suicidal individuals remotely via telehealth. This resource was developed by Columbia University's Center for Practice Innovations and Suicide Prevention - Training, Implementation and Evaluation [SP-TIE].
Telehealth Tips: Provides more than 20 practical tips from a certified telemental health therapist. Licensed marriage and family therapist Pam Suraci shares guidance from her experience in a 27-minute video interview.
Telemental Health 101: Provides a videotaped training video to help prepare school mental health clinicians to use telemental health to provide services and supports to students and families. Jennifer Cox, LCSW-C, director of the University of Maryland School Mental Health Program, prepared this 47-minute training video to support the transition from in-person to virtual formats in response to extended widespread school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Telehealth Program (Invoices & Reimbursements): Provides funding, appropriated by Congress, to help health care providers provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program provides immediate support to eligible health care providers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by fully funding their telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services. This webpage serves as a hub for information, forms and processes related to this reimbursement program. The FCC has provided a set of Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ’s] for this program.
State Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit - Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth (COVID-19 Version): Identifies for states the policy topics that should be addressed in order to facilitate widespread adoption of telehealth services, especially when they reside outside the immediate authority of a Medicaid or CHIP program. Tele-health has offered underserved school systems with unprecedented access to mental health professionals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] produced this toolkit to help states identify which aspects of their statutory and regulatory infrastructure might impede the deployment of telehealth capabilities in their Medicaid programs. As the nation prepares to unwind exceptional Medicaid flexibilities by 5/11/23, the toolkit concludes with a list of questions state policymakers can use when establishing new telehealth policy.
Unwinding and Returning to Regular Operations after COVID-19: Provides specific information to support states to resume normal operations, including restarting full Medicaid and CHIP eligibility renewals and terminations of coverage for individuals. Beginning April 1, 2023, states are now able to terminate Medicaid enrollment for individuals no longer eligible. States will have up to 12 months to return to normal eligibility and enrollment operations. On April 10, 2023, the COVID-19 National Emergency ended. On May 11, 2023 the Secretary for Health and Human Services let the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency expire.
CMS Releases New Resource for States Related to the Optional COVID-19 Group: Provides guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] for states that adopted the optional COVID-19 group to inform how they can manage ending coverage when federal authority for the group expires on the last day of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). This new resource discusses coverage of the optional COVID-19 group, redetermination and notice strategies for the affected beneficiaries, and expectations for ending coverage in the group in states unwinding plans.
COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Unwinding Frequently Asked Questions for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies: Provides a new (10/17/22) set of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwinding Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS]. The FAQs provide answers to queries CMS has received regarding guidance to support state efforts to unwind the continuous enrollment condition and other COVID-19 temporary authorities in Medicaid and CHIP after the PHE ends.
Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment Trend Snapshot: Provides a retrospective view of the past 12 months of Medicaid and CHIP enrollment up to the most recent monthly enrollment report and compares enrollment to various factors. This tool helps to track trends in Medicaid and CHIP program enrollment and also look at the potential drivers of increases in enrollment. The Enrollment Trends Snapshot is produced by the Medicaid and CHIP Learning Collaborative. CMS began releasing this new data product in September 2020.
Establishing the Framework for Health Equity at CMS: Introduces the CMS Framework for Health Equity 2022-2032 that supports the agency’s efforts to advance health equity in three critical ways: designing, implementing, and operationalizing policies and programs that support the health of all the people CMS serves; eliminating avoidable differences in health outcomes experienced by people who are disadvantaged or underserved; and providing the care and support that our enrollees need to thrive.
Preparedness and Response Toolkit for State Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Agencies in the Event of a Public Health Emergency or Disaster: Updates (06-23-22) existing toolkit to include additional strategies, flexibilities and lessons learned from the COVID-19 public health emergency’ and offers a new strategic framework for Medicaid and CHIP agencies as they prepare to respond to a disaster or public health emergency in the future.
Medicaid and CHIP and the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Updates the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) COVID-19 data snapshot with data through January 2022. This snapshot from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] provides information on COVID-19 related service utilization by beneficiaries including data on COVID-19 testing, treatment, and acute care use, service use among beneficiaries 18 years of age and younger, services delivered via telehealth, services for mental health and substance use disorders, and reproductive health services for female beneficiaries.
COVID-19 Booster Now Available for Children Aged 5-11: States that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] will ensure coverage for protection from the virus that causes COVID-19, including the newly-authorized (May 2022) booster dose, without cost sharing. CMS is providing organizations with free, customizable materials through this CMS COVID-19 web page to use in their outreach efforts, including digital videos, palm cards, posters, infographics, social media messages, and graphics.
InsureKidsNow.gov - Mental Health: Offers a set of tools to encourage parents and caregivers to enroll their children (students) in Medicaid and CHIP to access important mental health benefits. The national Medicaid agency [CMS] is emphasizing mental health care in its recently launched Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign to reach out to families with children and teens who can qualify for Medicaid and CHIP coverage. Check out the Outreach Tool Library for a full view of the variety of outreach materials available, and CMS’ Initiative’s pages to locate topic-specific resources.
Medicaid and CHIP Coverage of Stand-alone Vaccine Counselling: Releases a State Health Official Letter to provide guidance to states on coverage and payment for stand-alone vaccine counseling in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CMS is interpreting the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit in the Social Security Act to require the provision of stand-alone vaccine counseling to eligible beneficiaries. This mandatorily applies to both Medicaid and Medicaid-expansion CHIP beneficiaries eligible for EPSDT. States have the option to cover stand-alone vaccine counseling for adult Medicaid beneficiaries and beneficiaries in separate CHIPs.
HHS's New Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefit Resources Will Help People Seeking Care to Better Understand Their Rights: Announces (4/27/22) three new resources developed collaboratively by the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] and Department of Labor [DOL] to inform Americans of their statutory rights regarding coverage for mental health and substance use disorder benefits:
- Know Your Rights: Parity for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits,
- Understanding Parity: A Guide to Resources for Families and Caregivers, and
- The Essential Aspects of Parity: A Training Tool for Policymakers.
UPDATE: HHS and CMS Take Steps to Help Keep Families Connected to Coverage After the Eventual End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Provides states with guidance (03/03/22) as they plan for whenever the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) does conclude. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] guidance will help states keep consumers connected to coverage by either renewing individuals’ Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program [CHIP] eligibility, or helping them look at other affordable federal and state-based health insurance options. The Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] has committed that it will provide states 60 days’ notice before any planned expiration or termination of the PHE. As a condition of receiving enhanced federal funding, states agreed not to terminate enrollment for most individuals enrolled in Medicaid from March 2020 through the end of the month in which the PHE concludes.
RE: Mandatory Medicaid and CHIP Coverage of COVID-19-Related Treatment under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (SHO# 21-006): Provides guidance (10/22/21) to state health officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] about states’ statutory requirement to cover COVID-19-related treatment without cost-sharing in Medicaid and CHIP for many seniors, low-income adults, pregnant women, children, and people with disabilities who receive health coverage through these programs. This health care coverage, supported through the American Rescue Plan [ARP], includes care for conditions that could complicate the treatment of COVID-19 in patients who are presumed positive for the virus or have been diagnosed with COVID-19. This guidance “furthers the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to improve Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries’ health outcomes and reduce health disparities.”
Medicaid and CHIP and the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Preliminary Medicaid and CHIP Data Snapshot (Services through February 28, 2021): Provides information on COVID-19 related service utilization by beneficiaries including data on COVID-19 testing, treatment, and acute care use, service use among beneficiaries 18 years of age and younger, services delivered via telehealth, services for mental health and substance use disorders, and reproductive health services for female beneficiaries.
Connecting Kids to Coverage: State Outreach, Enrollment and Retention Strategies: Highlights effective and practical strategies to improve state outreach, enrollment, and renewal activities to reduce churn and retain children in Medicaid and CHIP health care programs. By May 2021, 39.0 million children were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, a significant increase that appears to have been driven by the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and the continuous enrollment requirement of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act [FFCRA]. Strategies presented by the Medicaid and CHIP [MAC] Learning Collaborative are informed by respondents from seven states between April 2020 and April 2021: Alabama, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Biden-Harris Administration Releases Medicaid and CHIP Guidance Targeting Vaccination and Testing for COVID-19: Issues guidance (08/30/21) to states as they navigate options to advance COVID-19 vaccination and testing for millions of eligible individuals. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] provides states with information about additional American Relief Plan [ARP] funding to promote the importance of COVID-19 vaccination for eligible children and adults enrolled in Medicaid. This guidance highlights Medicaid and CHIP coverage for diagnostic and screening COVID-19 testing in a variety of settings, including schools; and reinforces that COVID-19 vaccines are available to nearly all Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP] beneficiaries for free.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
CMS Current Emergencies - 2020 Coronavirus: Offers technical guidance for health care providers and states about flexibilities in Medicaid and CHIP programs (service coverage, billing and coding, provider qualifications) to maximize health care support for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lists extensive updates of information and ongoing updates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] on health and health care-related aspects of the current coronavirus public health emergency.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Agencies Posts additional FAQs to aid state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new FAQs cover a variety of Medicaid and CHIP topics, including Eligibility and Enrollment; Notice and Fair Hearings; Optional COVID-Testing Group FAQs; Premiums and Cost Sharing; Benefits; Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT); Information Technology; and Financing. CMS has integrated the new questions and answers with previous FAQ documents, and pledges to continue to review incoming questions and provide responses with ongoing updates to these FAQs.
Leveraging Medicaid to Support Early Childhood and Parental Mental Health Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Shares examples from several states of strategies to leverage cross-agency collaborations and strengthen Medicaid programs to support early childhood and parental mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and beyond. The Center for Health Care Strategies is leading a partnership, Aligning Early Childhood and Medicaid, under Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsorship, to enhance alignment across Medicaid and state agencies responsible for early childhood programs. This blog post describes Medicaid coverage of screening for maternal depression, extended coverage for women beyond 60 days post-partum, billing for family interventions, and other innovations.
Back-to-School and School-Based Outreach (Connecting Kids to Coverage): Hosts the ongoing Connecting Kids to Coverage campaign to support school-based efforts to inform parents their children and teens may be eligible for free or low-cost health insurance through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP]. Such coverage can enable them to get check-ups, immunizations, eye exams, dental visits, mental health support and other care they may need to fully participate in classroom, after-school and summer activities. The Campaign offers outreach tools and materials to support school-based outreach efforts, including materials specifically tailored for Back-to-School outreach. The site offers a comprehensive School-Based Outreach and Enrollment Toolkit, along with e-newsletters, webinars, videos and more.
Restart & Recovery: Leveraging Federal COVID Relief Funding & Medicaid to Support Student & Staff Wellbeing & Connection: Highlights how state and local education agencies can use federal COVID-19 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to support student and staff mental health and wellbeing. This guide, developed by the Council for Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], Healthy Schools Campaign [HSC] and National Center for School Mental Health [NCSMH], explains how to leverage these one-time-only funds to access additional funding streams, such as Medicaid, to ensure efforts are sustained.
Updated Guidance Related to Planning for Resumption of Normal State Medicaid, CHIP and Basic Health Plan (BHP) Operations upon Conclusion of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE): Updates specific eligibility and enrollment guidance initially provided to states in December 2020 (SHO #20-004). The updated guidance (08/13/21) from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] extends the timeframe for states to complete pending eligibility and enrollment work to up to 12 months after the PHE ends; and requires states to complete a redetermination of eligibility after the PHE for all beneficiaries prior to taking any adverse action.
State Medicaid and CHIP Strategies to Protect Coverage During COVID-19: Describes the actions states have taken to protect and expand coverage for Medicaid and CHIP enrollees during the COVID-19 public health emergency, sourced from state websites and approved Medicaid and CHIP disaster relief state Medicaid plan (SPA) amendments.
How States Are Facilitating Medicaid Enrollment During COVID-19 — And How They Can Do Even More: Summarizes conclusions of a content analysis of strategies used by states to facilitate Medicaid enrollment for individuals (adults and children) who are newly eligible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog post, the Center for Health Care Strategies [CHCS] and the Institute for Medicaid Innovation [IMI] explore trends identified in their analysis of how state Medicaid agencies are supporting Medicaid enrollment during COVID-19, and opportunities to enhance those efforts.
Addressing the Needs of Medicaid Populations During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Collects resources for health care stakeholders aimed at lessening harmful impacts of COVID-19 on high-risk populations. Vulnerable populations that rely heavily on Medicaid, including families with low-incomes, people of color, and those with complex medical, behavioral health, and social needs, are being disproportionately impacted. The Center for Health Care Strategies [CHCS] pledges to expand and refresh this library of key guidance, reference materials, and tools over time.)
New York: COVID-19 Guidance for Medicaid Providers: Serves as a one-stop repository for rapid dissemination of quickly evolving guidance to take fullest possible advantage of extraordinary flexibilities in Medicaid health care coverage (e.g. tele-health, direct support for persons needing long-term care, child and family treatment support, transportation), and as a clearinghouse for key federal (e.g. CDC, CMS) and state-specific information. Note: Every state Medicaid program is unique, within broad federal parameters. States can and often do learn from and adapt innovations from one another to best meet the needs of their own populations.
Medicaid and CHIP Continuous Enrollment Unwinding: A Communications Toolkit: Supports efforts to minimize the number of people who will lose eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP as temporary flexibilities related to the COVID-19 public health emergency [PHE] unwind beginning 5/12/23. Students have been covered at unprecedentedly high rates as a result of those flexibilities. This CMS communications toolkit contains important information about steps that can be taken now for enrolled individuals to get ready to renew their coverage. CMS is working with states and other stakeholders (e.g. schools) to inform people about renewing their coverage and exploring other available health insurance options if they no longer qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.
National Association of School Nurses: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Resources: Provides guidance and numerous resources to assist school nurses in planning for post-COVID return to school for students, provision of virtual care, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), safe transmittal of resources between home and school, teaching students and families about risks and safe behaviors, and more.
Joint ED-HHS Letter on School-Based Health Services (03/22/22): Announces an initiative by the Biden-Harris Administration to develop and align resources to ensure children have the physical and behavioral health services and supports that they need to build resilience and thrive. Secretaries Cardona (ED) and Becerra (HHS) announce that, in the coming months, their two Departments will provide additional technical assistance, resources and support that will (1) provide guidance on the federal funding available for school-based physical and behavioral health services, including how Medicaid can support the delivery of these services; (2) help reduce federal administrative burden for states and localities, including local educational agencies, and barriers to the provision of school-based physical and behavioral health services; and (3) improve and strengthen access to physical and behavioral health services.
School-based Health Services - HHS Resources (March 2022): Catalogues more than 100 on-line information resources that can support development and operation of school-based health services. Categories of linked resources include: early care and education; emergency response; behavioral health and trauma; social determinants of health; health care; and health coverage.
Lessons from the Field - Expanding School-Health Center Partnerships: Assembles a recording, slide deck, speaker biographies and primary source documents for a national webinar hosted by NCSSLE and joined by nearly 800 participants on 3/30/22.
Find a Health Center (HRSA Data Warehouse): Helps users to search for HRSA-funded health centers. Visitors can search near a specific place by typing a city, ZIP code, or a specific street address into the Location box, then click the magnifying glass or press enter/return on their keyboard. The search area is set to a 5-mile radius when you begin, but users can set a wider search area. (Data used for this tool was current in the HRSA Data Warehouse as of 03/30/22.)
Advancing Health Center & School Partnerships to Improve COVID-19 Vaccination Administration for Adolescents: Shares promising strategies, practices, and sample resources from health centers, school-based health centers (SBHCs), and schools to improve adolescent access to COVID-19 vaccinations. This guide was developed by the School-Based Health Alliance [SBHA] and the National Association of Community Health Centers [NACHC].
Health Center Programs Requirements [HRSA]: Provides the HRSA Health Center Program compliance manual, pertinent statutes and regulations, site visit resources, frequently asked questions (FAQ), and many additional resources to support operation of HRSA-supported health center programs.
Research Highlight: Family-Based Intervention Lowers Long-Term Suicide Risk in Youth: Reports (9/29/22) findings from a recent study supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, through which researchers examined the impact of a family-based intervention on suicide risk in youth. Researchers examined the impact of a family-based intervention called the Family Check-Up (FCU) program on long-term suicide risk. The FCU program was designed to improve positive parental support, problem-solving, and communication skills. The researchers examined data from three randomized controlled trials that studied the FCU program’s impact, and found risk-reduction benefits up to 10 years later.
Return to School Roadmap - A Resource for Parents on Returning to In-Person Learning (en Espanol): Offers a checklist to help parents prepare for their children’s safe return to school for the 2021-2022 school year. The US Department of Education’s roadmap provides information to help parents:
- Plan for eligible children to get vaccinated
- Talk to your school about health and safety protocols
- Talk with children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine about strategies to keep them safe at school
- Make a plan to access safe transportation to and from school
- Talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s needs, and
- Connect to support
Preparing Your Child to Go Back to School In-Person (en Espanol): Offers insights to understand nature of predictable anxiety in young students and family members in anticipation of return to in-person learning after more than a year of interrupted learning. “Parents are out of practice when it comes to commuting and kids are out of practice dealing with full days and a full week of in-person school. The beginning of the school year is always a time of adjustment, with some anxiety, but now that’s amplified for a lot of kids, because it’ll be a long day for many who have been used to shorter days, intermittent study times, and lighter demands.” Child Mind Institute offers several recommendations, including trying to not subject students to all the changes at once.
Family Resource Center [Child Mind Institute]: Features over 700 evidence-based resources on child and youth mental health, learning disorders and common parenting challenges. All resources are offered in both English and Spanish. Downloadable guides, articles, an “Ask an Expert” section, and a periodic newsletter are among the practical guidance resources offered to parents by clinical mental health professionals.
Catalyzing Family, School, and Community Partnerships: Reports about the programs and services that 12 current statewide family engagement centers (SFECs) are providing to families, practitioners, community stakeholders and state leaders; provides highlights of specific resources and services the SFECs have developed; provides insight into how grantees have supported their constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic; and demonstrates how SFECs offer critical services to strengthen connections between home, school, and community to support students, families, and schools. Though September 2021, 12 SFECs representing 13 states (AZ, CT, HI, KY, MD, MA, MN, NE, OH, PA, SC, SD, WV) have been funded by the U.S. Department of Education to create systemic partnerships with State Education Agencies [SEA] to provide technical assistance and training to schools, districts, community partners, and SEAs, as well as to provide parenting education and family engagement programming.
Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting From COVID-19: Provides insight and guidelines for parents and caregivers to provide guidance and reassurance to children who can feel anxious about this new type of virus. The National Association of School Psychologists advises that acknowledging a level of concern without panicking is appropriate and can generate actions that reduce the risk of illness. Helping children cope with anxiety requires providing accurate prevention information and facts without causing undue alarm. This website provides extensive tip sheets and other resources in numerous languages.
Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (en Español): Helps parents, caregivers, and teachers learn some common reactions to anticipate in children and youth at each developmental stage. SAMHSA provides guidance to parents and caregivers to help manage children’s responses, how to listen and respond in a helpful way, and to recognize when children, youth, parents, caregivers or teachers might need more (professional) help.
Partner Resources, Tools and Guides - COVID-19 Resources: Lists links to national and international resources that can help families, school social workers and other helpers to address a variety of concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts from the Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child have curated on-line resources spanning family needs from child care to housing, from food insecurity to health care and medical information. A growing set of recordings in the Center’s “Brain Architects Podcast” series addresses contemporary COVID-19-related topics.
Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Provides parents and caregivers with important information about the COVID-19 outbreak, and how being prepared can reduce one’s stress and help calm likely anxieties. This fact sheet, developed by leading experts for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, can help parents think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect their family—both physically and emotionally—and what they can do to help their family cope.
The AAP Parenting Website: Provides up-to-date guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] about health issues significant to children, youth and families. During the current pandemic the website offers a free, periodic newsletter, vetted journal articles, symptom checklists, archived webinar recordings, and a pediatrician finder tool. This website was featured and promoted during the Administration’s National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools on 07/07/20.
Helping Children Cope: Offers information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to help their children cope with COVID-19, including behavior changes to watch for in your child, ways to support your child and resources to get immediate help.
COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit: Provides resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to help support parents, caregivers and other adults serving children and young people in recognizing children and young people's social, emotional, and mental health challenges and helping to ensure their well-being. Offers information and resources for specific age groups, from early childhood (0-5 years), childhood (6-12 years), adolescence (13-17 years) and young adults (18-24 years).
Top Ten Tips for Parents (Adapted from the Triple P Positive Parenting Program): Provides ten tips for parents on how to cope with stress and anxiety during an outbreak. This tip sheet was created by the Arizona Department of Child Safety. It is presented in both English and Spanish.
Trauma-Informed Parenting during Our “Staycation”: Offers tips for keeping students’ families rooted in safety and growing in connection during the CIVID-19 quarantine. The Attachment & Trauma Network Inc. presents seven (7) tips for parents to recognize, understand and manage predictable behaviors and responses of their children during the national emergency, including self-care and self-management. This resource is presented in a clear, simple and nicely-illustrated form.
Resources for Talking with Children and Youth about Coronavirus: Collects resources from Child Mind Institute, Mental Health America, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and other organizations to assist families and caregivers in supporting youth with mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Family-Run Executive Directors Leadership Association [FREDLA] has compiled these resources to help families support their children's mental health through the pandemic's difficult times.
Coping Under Covid-19: Managing Behavior and Having a Safety Plan for Children and Youth with Behavioral Health Needs When Staying at Home: Offers eight simple, practical strategies from the Family-Run Executive Directors Leadership Association [FREDLA] to help parents manage social distancing and state-at-home situations for children and youth with mental, emotional and behavioral health needs.
Will My Child Bounce Back from the Coronavirus Crisis? Trauma, Resilience, and How Parents Can Help (en Español): Explains how the pandemic has impacted many children’s psychological wellbeing, including discussion of anxiety, sadness, behavior challenges and trauma. The Child Mind Institute also explains adjustment disorders as pertinent consideration for children. This article, informed by clinical psychology, offers guidance to parents for awareness/surveillance of problems their children might be experiencing, and several suggestions to help their children “bounce back” from the stress of the extended public health crisis. It concludes with a link to Child Mind’s extensive curated list of resources for Supporting Kids During COVID-19.
Supporting Families with PBIS at Home: Provides recommendations for families and caregivers on how to use positive behavioral interventions and supports [PBIS] to support children’s social and emotional growth and minimize behavioral disruptions in the home. PBIS is used in more than 25,000 schools throughout the US. This practice brief, co-authored by the Center for Parent Information & Resources and the Center on PBIS, offers concrete examples of developmentally appropriate daily and learning routines for at-home students, and of clear expectations for students in the context of the family home and household routines.
When Kids Refuse to Go to School: Discusses problematic patterns of school refusal behavior, ways for parents to understand what is underlying school refusal, how to constructively address it, and how to differentiate mild from more serious concern. Clinical psychologist Rachel Busman, Child Mind Institute, discusses diagnostic, intervention and treatment approaches for children and youth when school refusal might accompany accompanies disorders like separation anxiety, social anxiety, depression or panic disorder.
Connect to Care [Child Mind Institute]: Offers answers from mental health clinicians to common questions families have about seeking, navigating, and securing care and support for their children and families. This website is designed to help parents consider whether/why to seek mental health care for their children; links to professional organizations and directories to help locate care; questions caregivers should ask when exploring and arranging care options; how to seek telehealth treatment in particular; and how to seek support through your child’s school. All content is provided in both English and in Spanish.
Family Guide to At-Home Learning: Offers practical strategies for helping children of all ages who may be struggling with an at-home learning task. Families of students with disabilities might find these strategies – produced by the CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform) Center, useful when helping their children complete various reading, math, and/or behavioral tasks at home.
Parents/Caregivers of Children with Intensive Mental, Emotional, Behavioral or Physical Health Needs
Preventing Parenting Burnout: Offers 12 ways for parents to tap into their love for their children who have significant mental health issues. The Child Mind Institute offers an extensive on-line Family Resource Center featuring evidence-based guides, a symptom checker, questions and answers on topics of interest, and more.
Pediatric Depression and Parents: Provides guidance for pediatricians to offer to parents of depressed adolescent patients. Adolescent depression is a common pediatric disorder, especially in the COVID-19 era when many relationships and activities have been limited or cut off. With treatment, most adolescents recover. While it may be taking longer to find a therapist during COVID-19, pediatricians can make treatment recommendations, support the teenager and parents, address safety concerns and, if indicated, start medications. The co-authors, a leading child and adolescent physician and a professor of pediatric psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, emphasize that “Parents are your natural partners as they are concerned about their children's health and safety and eager for guidance on how to best support their recovery.”
Compassion Resilience: Helps parents to recognize compassion fatigue and its consequences, hone their family values and goals, develop a strong set of skills to manage expectations, set boundaries within their families, and practice real-time and ongoing self-care. Developed by the Wisconsin Initiative for Stigma Elimination [WISE], with particular focus on parenting children and youth experiencing significant mental health needs, the content of the toolkit has been informed by research and best practices related to resilience, positive psychology, compassion fatigue, family development, and mindfulness. Parent advocates, family specialists, and child educators have shaped the toolkit through a series of pilots with multiple groups of parents and caregivers.
Covid-19 Resources for Parents, Families and Youth: The National Federation of Families has developed training videos, toolkits, and activities that are simple for parents to navigate – including a set of six Helpful Parenting Infographics from the international Parenting for Lifelong Health program, specific resources for families of children with disabilities or special health care needs, and direct links to more than a dozen additional COVID-19-related resource pages from national and international organizations.
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resource Library: Shares resources compiled by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry [AACAP] for parents, patients, and clinicians to help with the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including tips for parents and teachers about children and masks; tips for transitioning back to school; and helping kids cope with the holidays during the pandemic.
Parents: Supporting Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic (en Español): Offers tips for parents to support their children’s learning while at home. This easy-to-navigate on-line module, designed by Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development based on principles of adult learning, addresses several challenges (e.g. distractions) parents might likely encounter; and offers practical tools, easy-to-implement tips, and additional resources that can prepare and support parents. The curriculum is particularly attuned to challenges with home teaching of children with disabilities or other special needs.
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource: Provides insight and guidelines for parents and caregivers to provide guidance and reassurance to children who can feel anxious about this new type of virus. The National Association of School Psychologists advises that acknowledging a level of concern without panicking is appropriate, and can generate actions that reduce the risk of illness. Helping children cope with anxiety requires providing accurate prevention information and facts without causing undue alarm. This website provides extensive tip sheets and other resources in numerous languages.
How to Separate from Clingy Kids - What to Do When a Child Doesn't Want to Say Goodbye: Provides practical guidance to parents/caregivers about how to prepare children for separation (e.g., leaving for school) ahead of time. Clinical psychologist Stephanie Schwartz, Child Mind Institute, discusses a range of anxiety from mild and “normal” to more concerning, and offers a substantial set of strategies and suggestions to help manage anticipated separations in a proactive and constructive way.
Talking to Children About Coronavirus (COVID-19): Suggests ways to talk with young children about the evolving coronavirus outbreak, from the perspective of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This two-page tip sheet concludes, “Most children, even those exposed to loss or illness, are quite resilient. However, by creating an open environment where they feel free to ask questions, we can help them cope with stressful events and experiences and reduce the risk of lasting emotional difficulties.”
The Pandemic Toolkit Parents Need: Introduces eight tips for parents from child psychologist and trauma expert Bruce Perry MD, PhD, offering guidance to anticipate stress related to COVID-19 pandemic and school closures; and how to manage it through self-regulation to increase one’s own resilience and support growth of resilience in one’s children, too.
Meaningful Online Education for Our Youngest Learners: Tips to Reconcile the Need for E-Learning with How Young Children Learn Best: Highlights how early childhood and early elementary school teachers can feel more confident about providing technology-mediated learning experiences that are developmentally appropriate for young learners when used in regulated amounts.
Ways to Promote Children’s Resilience to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Considers five recognized protective best practices long established in the literature that can shield children from harm and increase the chances they adapt positively to adversities like the coronavirus pandemic. For each protective factor listed, Child Trends’ experts offer numerous suggestions at both the parent/ caregiver and the community/systems levels to support and strengthen that protective factor in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated social and economic stressors.
GoNoodle: Engages children with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Children’s physical and psychological wellness are closely interconnected. Games and activities supported through this resource are designed to support a Whole Child approach. Portions of this website are tailored to the respective needs of families and of educators.
Helping Your Teen Find Purpose During the Pandemic: Provides clear clinical guidance to parents in a short (less than 3 minutes) video from the JED Foundation.
What to Do if You're Concerned about Your Teen's Mental Health: A Conversation Guide: Offers guidance to help parents and families who are concerned about their teen’s mental health and emotional well-being have important conversations with their child. Although parents often pick up on concerning signs that their teen is struggling, not everyone feels well-equipped to approach their child to have a conversation about how they are feeling. Knowing what to do after the conversation, especially if the child has expressed something concerning, is not always obvious. This guide from the JED Foundation discusses signs that your teen may be struggling; preparing yourself for (and what to do and say during) the conversation; and how to follow up after the conversation.
Helping Homebound Children During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Establishes positive measures families can utilize to include children in planning for the family, and proactive behaviors to help support their sense of agency and control.
Strategies for Parents on Supporting Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Offers tips to support children’s learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic utilizing modules. The IRIS Center is a national center dedicated to improving education outcomes for all children, especially those with disabilities birth through age 21, using effective evidence-based practices and interventions.
Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents (NCTSN): Describes how families' ways to reconcile may be affected by economic hardships. This comprehensive product from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers a variety of ways to cope during these uncertain times.
CDC COVID-19: How to Prepare (For Parents): Presents indicators of stress during an infectious disease outbreak, to guide parents about changes in their children that might indicate anxiety. This CDC page also provides guidance for supporting children through this period, including answering their questions and sharing facts, reassuring them that they are safe, limiting exposure to news coverage and social media, and keeping up regular routines. It offers self-care tips for parents to cope with stress due to COVID-19.
Tips for Supporting Yourself During the Pandemic: Offers parents and caregivers six suggestions for self-care to help fortify parents support their children's needs for safety and security in the context of the national emergency. The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations developed this succinct, two-page guidance, and also offers an extensive bank of resources for Emergencies and Natural Disasters: Helping Children and Families Cope.
COVID-19 Planning Guide and Self-Assessment for Higher Education: Offers practical planning resources to help institutions gauge how effectively they are addressing a range of COVID-19 scenarios. This guide and accompanying risk assessment from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security are intended to accommodate a wide range of institutions: public, private, large, small, comprehensive, specialized, urban, and rural. The tools will help institutions ensure continuity through the pandemic and might challenge them to rethink some of the basic assumptions and values of their institutions.
COVID-19 Resources: Lists ongoing news, resources, and events regarding COVID-19 and post-secondary education, provided by the American College Health Association’s COVID-19 Task Force.
Here's a List of Colleges That Require Students or Employees to Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19: Provides a map showing the locations of colleges that are requiring vaccines of at least some students or employees; a graphic showing the pace at which campuses have made their announcements; and a searchable list of those campuses. That list links to the actual announcements or statements issued by the institutions. The Chronicle of Higher Education is maintaining and updating this list, which had identified over 1,080 such campuses as of 10/19/21.
COVID-19 Guidance for Institutions of Higher Learning: Offers official CDC resources (July 2021) for administrators, faculty, staff, and students regarding operational considerations, when to quarantine, testing, contact tracing in higher education institutions, and student stress and travel guidelines.
COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE), Community Colleges, and Technical Schools: Provides official CDC materials to help administrators and staff at institutions of higher education (IHE) share clear, complete, and accurate messages about COVID-19 vaccines. These unified messages can help build confidence among students and staff and encourage COVID-19 vaccination among students.
COVID-19 Information and Resources: Presents an ongoing list of guidance and policies related to elementary and secondary education, special education, higher education, and other essential components of lifelong learning from the U.S. Department of Education. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also continues to provide updated guidance for school settings. This information will help equip states, communities, educators, and families with resources and flexibilities that empower students to continue pursuing their education goals.
What Prevents Isolation and Dropout for Non-Traditional Students? Connection: Features interview with Melvin Hines (CEO, Upswing), describing lessons learned in engaging and supporting non-traditional (e.g. adult learners, on-line students) college students, whose isolation has been exacerbated by restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This 29-minute podcast interview and transcript describes strategies including tutoring, advisement and on-line learning assistant (“Ana”) options to strengthen engagement. Hines indicates the strategies have increased graduation rates by 10-15%.
Asymptomatic Population COVID-19 Testing Guide: Explains the various approaches to serial COVID-19 testing, and offers considerations about how to determine which is best for a given organization (e.g. college/university). This guide was created by ThermoFisher Scientific for organizations interested in including asymptomatic population testing for SARS-CoV-2 as part of their mitigation strategy to keep people safe. The guide discusses how to evaluate different testing methods to determine which technology approach might best fit your circumstances and needs. Visitors must fill out an on-line form to access the guide, but there is no cost and no advertisement involved.
Your Guide to Creating a Contactless Campus: Offers a free downloadable guide that walks interested institutions of higher education [IHE] through a three-step process to resume classes while managing the safety of every one on campus: enabling Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, adding mobile capabilities, and switching to cloud-based administration. The free e-book from TouchNet Information Systems Inc., includes step-by-step ideas for transitioning everyday campus activities to low-or no-contact equivalents; a Contactless Campus checklist to help identify key elements of an IHE’s contactless strategy; and additional pandemic-related resources specific to higher education. TouchNet offers a more extensive suite of resources to support campus safety, Timely, Targeted Resources for Transitioning Your Campus.
Encouraging Protective COVID-19 Behaviors among College Students: Presents research-informed habit-promoting and communication strategies to encourage the adoption of behaviors that can stem the spread of COVID-19 infections on college campuses. This rapid expert consultation report by the Societal Experts Action Network [SEAN] of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [NASEM] draws from developmental psychology and brain research, and was developed to support campus leaders as they work together with students to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses and in the surrounding communities.
Surviving COVID-19: A #RealCollege Guide for Students: Addresses common needs and offers resources for college students as they embark on this semester while the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic is still a reality. This guide provides a set of resources and strategies regarding food, housing, and health needs.
Perspective | COVID-19 Sparks Mental Health Crisis on College Campuses Nationwide: Offers a student-level perspective on the mental health crisis evident among college and university students as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into 2022. Cites a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] revealing that one in four individuals between 18-24 had considered suicide in early months of the pandemic, and across the ensuing semesters, students have reported higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. The author asserts, “Though it seems like we have made it to the other end of the pandemic, we cannot ignore the long-term effects COVID-19 has had on students. Now is a crucial time to start putting the mental health of students at the center of the conversation.”
Speaking of Suicide - Resources: Offers an extensive set of links to hotlines, tip sheets, on-line chats and forums, suicide prevention publications and other resources vetted by Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, a psychotherapist and author of the book Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals.
Campus Counselors Are Burned Out and Short-Staffed: Reports (November 2021) convergence of unprecedentedly high need and demand for mental health services for college students with growing departures of college counseling clinicians and a significant tightening of the applicant pool. The Chronicle of Higher Education outlines numerous strategies colleges and universities are using to adjust to and cope with those dynamics.
Prevention and Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors among College Students: Reviews literature on treating college students’ mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This new publication from SAMHSA distills the research into recommendations for practice and offers examples to illustrate how the recommendations can be implemented.
Admin 101: Campus Administrators Need Self-Care, Too: Offers a set of basic principles and applied practices to support effective performance for academic deans, department heads and other administrators, while protecting against threats to their mental and physical health. With so many students and faculty and staff members under so much stress, the administration is understandably a target of some ire. A college dean writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education that campus leaders and managers have been struggling with serious tests of their own. “Simply put, you can’t look after others if the intense stresses of the job lately are threatening your own mental or physical health.”
JED's POV on Campus Mental Health and Well-being in Fall 2021 Reopening: Offers guidance for students, families, administrators, faculty and staff, based on the Jed Foundation’s comprehensive public health framework, about returning to campus for the 2021-2022 academic year. Reflecting published guidelines and considerations from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and the American College Health Association [ACHA], JED’s “POV” discusses important contextual issues, encourages strategic planning through an equitable implementation lens, promotes social connectedness and development of targeted life skills, informs identification of students at risk, promotes help-seeking, encourages provision of substance abuse and mental health services, and discusses crisis management procedures and prevention measures.
Is Online Campus Counseling Here to Stay?: Describes rapid expansion of colleges offering remote (telephonic and online video) counseling services for students during COVID-19, and evinces a widespread recognition of inherent advantages for higher education student populations and for institutions of higher learning. “Close to half of students surveyed in this past fall's Healthy Minds Study screened positive for clinically significant symptoms of depression and/or anxiety,” and “studies have shown video therapy to be as effective as in-person sessions."
Seize the Awkward: Provides an assortment of tools, tip sheets and conversation guides, to help students conduct, facilitate and participate in conversations about mental health in order to help normalize, and mitigate stigma that might be related to, help-seeking to address mental health support needs. Videos, toll-free helpline and texting mechanisms are shared at this website by the JED Foundation and its partners.
Coping with Stress During COVID-19: Outlines ways that you can take care of your mental health during the fear and anxiety that can occur during the COVID-19 pandemic. This collection from the CDC offers crisis resources and targeted strategies based on a variety of social, financial, and community backgrounds.
COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders: Examines how populations with substance use disorders may be disproportionately affected as the world contends with COVID-19, subject to worsening underlying respiratory and pulmonary issues in addition to potential socioeconomic concerns. (Generally, substance use disorders are relatively more frequent among young adults of typical college-student age.) This blog entry was hosted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Marking a Milestone - www.campusdrugprevention.gov Turns Five: Celebrates the anniversary of the 2017 creation of the Campus Drug Prevention website to enhance outreach and prevention support to colleges and universities. Over the past five years, the website has provided individuals with resources they need to make a difference on their college campus. The site includes significant input from faculty members, student health center staff, and student affairs personnel at American colleges and universities, as well as DEA's federal partners. The public is encouraged to visit the website to explore initiatives such as One Pill Can Kill; the Prevention with Purpose step-by-step guide to implementing strategic prevention efforts on campus; and Prevention Profiles podcasts that offer interactive conversations with specialists in their field.
Prevention Profiles: Take Five: Provides institutions of higher education and their surrounding communities with resources to prevent drug misuse among college students. The Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA] offers a strategic planning guide, practitioner toolbox, podcasts, and research as part of the agency’s commitment to promote the importance of prevention and its role in helping ensure the health and safety of college students.
Increased Mood Disorder Symptoms, Perceived Stress, and Alcohol Use among College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evaluates effects of the spring 2020 COVID-19 disruption on student well-being. A sample of 148 students (86.5% female, 49.3% White) completed measures of psychological symptoms, perceived stress, and alcohol use during the spring 2020 semester. Their results were compared to those of 240 students (87.9% female, 64.2% White) who completed the same measures in the fall 2019 semester. Participants in spring 2020 reported more mood disorder symptoms, perceived stress, and alcohol use than did pre-pandemic participants. Worry about COVID-19 was negatively associated with well-being in multiple domains. This analysis explains how universities and practitioners who work with college students can help young adults manage their symptoms and avoid behaviors like risky alcohol use when confronted with stressors such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Community College Students (BASICCS): Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of Web-Conferencing BASICCS and Supporting Automated Text Messages: Examines feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of adapting an evidence-based substance use treatment intervention to remote web conferencing format. The Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) aims to reduce high-risk drinking and associated harms. BASICCS showed promising evidence of the viability of the technology-based format, although the intervention completion rate in the non-treatment-seeking volunteer sample was modest. Preliminary evidence suggests BASICCS shows promise in reducing alcohol use and consequences through web conferencing adaptation.
Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Youth High School and College Age: Helps high school students and young adults understand how economic difficulties may affect them; and provides suggestions from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network [NCTSN] about how they can cope during these uncertain times.
UPDATED Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Provides updated (June 2020) information from the Federal Student Aid office of the U.S. Department of Education in response to the unique and urgent circumstances of postsecondary institutions as a result of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This update expanded on the Department’s March 5, 2020 guidance and provides additional regulatory flexibilities due to the lawful declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency.
For Low-Income Students, COVID-19 Pandemic Compounds Barriers to Attending and Paying for Higher Education: Describes the obstacles for low-income students in paying for college and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This press release details the findings of the 2020 Indicators of Higher Education Equity in United States.
U.S. Surgeon General Releases New Framework for Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace: Announces (10/20/22) Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy’s release of a new Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace outlining the foundational role that workplaces should play in promoting the health and well-being of workers and communities. The framework highlights five essentials for workers in organizations and businesses of every size to help leaders develop policies and practices that support the mental health and well-being of workers.
Leveraging Reset Opportunities to Help Students and Staff Thrive: Presents a set of practices for both school administrators who directly support staff, and for classroom teachers and other staff who directly support students, to step back, clarify priorities, and strategize improvements ( e.g. surrounding major school breaks). The selected practices, identified by the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments [NCSSLE] based on contemporary research, offers a starting set of practical ideas that individuals or teams of practitioners can use this tool as they consider how they might strengthen and refine current practices.
Healthy School, Healthy Staff, Healthy Students: A Guide to Improving School Employee Wellness: Provides a suggested process and resources for building or expanding an effective employee wellness initiative. This guide, produced by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors [NACDD], is a resource for districts and schools with no prior experience with employee wellness initiatives, as well as those seeking to improve an existing initiative. The information is based on the experience of other school districts and experts in the field as well as research findings.
Workplace Health Promotion: Provides information and resources to teach about workplace health promotion; and how to design, implement, and evaluate effective workplace health programs. This CDC website presents a Worksite Health ScoreCard, a Workplace Health Model, and the Work@Health training program, along with a offers a well-stocked Workplace Health Resource Center.
New Self-Care Portal for Behavioral Health Professionals Now Available: Offers a comprehensive approach to workplace well-being. This interactive tool can enable behavioral health providers and organizations to assess and improve both individual and collective well-being. The Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center [MHTTC] Network created the platform in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, MedStar Health, Georgetown University Hospital and 3C Institute.
Addressing Educator Burnout and Demoralization: Actions for Administrators: Provides K-12 school administrators with strategy-based actions to support the well-being of both rural and urban educators and student support professionals, based on interviews conducted by the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments [NCSSLE] and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders.
Advancing Adult Compassion Resilience: A Toolkit for Schools: Focuses on building teacher resilience as both an individual and organizational responsibility and opportunity. The content of the toolkit – co-developed by WISE, Rogers Behavioral Health, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, has been strongly informed by research and best practices related to resilience, positive psychology, compassion fatigue, organizational psychology, and mindfulness.
Tap-In / Tap-Out: Giving Teachers Time to Recharge: Demonstrates simple strategy to give teachers a minute to take a break and re-focus. Presented in a two-minute video from Edutopia.
Leaders We Need Now: Provides a series of briefs from the National Association of Elementary School Principals [NAESP], based on 36 focus groups involving 188 principals conducted by the American Institutes for Research during spring 2021. Across the series, principals recount how their schools changed in school year 2020–21, speculate about which changes might endure, and identify new challenges associated with the changes; describe how the events of school year 2020–21 shaped the priorities of their profession and what principalship may look like in the future; and specify what their schools need from policymakers as they continue to grapple with the effects and aftershocks of the events of 2020 and early 2021. An executive summary, as well as the first two briefs, Leaders in the Tumult and Evolution of the Principalship, are available to download below. The third and final brief, Principals on Policy, is set to be released in early 2022.
Classroom Well-Being Information and Strategies for Educators (WISE) Implementation Support Series: Archives eight implementation guidance sessions (July-August 2021) to support the free Classroom WISE training package. Each 1-hour session is recorded, and slides are provided. Classroom WISE has been developed by the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network, in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health. The training package offers evidence-based strategies and skills to engage and support students with mental health concerns in the classroom. In addition to a free online course on mental health literacy for educators and school personnel, a video library and resource collection are also provided.
4 Ways to Supoprt Teacher Well-being: Shares four examples of powerful tactics schools are using to build environments that prioritize educator and staff well-being. This ASCD blog also links to the Search Institute’s Resources Hub that offers research-informed resources on positive youth development and the strengthening of developmental relationships that all young people need to thrive.
Social and Emotional Supports for Educators During and After the Pandemic: Asserts that schools and districts should prioritize social and emotional supports for educators to help them process the stresses of remote learning and adjustments to the “new normal.” This well-documented brief evinces the toll pandemic-related stressors continue to take on educators in 2021-22, and provides detailed recommendations to transform how educators are supported in their profession, not just during the recovery but also in the long term.
It's A New Era for Mental Health at Work: Discusses convergence of factors contemporaneous to the COVID-19 pandemic that are impacting and challenging mental health across our whole population, citing data on increased employee attrition, high incidence of mental health issues, widespread disclosure, and implications for diversity, equity and inclusion. The Harvard Business Review examines roles and responsibilities for employers, and offers recommendations for what employers should provide. “The future of workplace mental health demands culture change — with more vulnerability, compassion, and sustainable ways of working. We’ve already started down the path of culture change thanks to Covid-19. Let’s use this moment to be intentional and, instead of rushing back to the status quo of 2019, imagine what could be.”
Restart & Recovery: Leveraging Federal COVID Relief Funding & Medicaid to Support Student & Staff Wellbeing & Connection: Highlights how state and local education agencies can use federal COVID-19 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to support student and staff mental health and wellbeing. This guide, developed by the Council for Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], Healthy Schools Campaign [HSC] and National Center for School Mental Health [NCSMH], explains how to leverage these one-time-only funds to access additional funding streams, such as Medicaid, to ensure efforts are sustained. It offers a roadmap for strategic and sustainable investment that can help advance student and staff wellbeing and connection for years to come.
How to Grow Teacher Wellbeing in Your Schools: Describes ways to achieve well-being through social emotional learning-focused activities that promote positive and supportive relationships with colleagues and students. This infographic was developed by REL Pacific and National Center for Education Research for ED’s institute of Education Sciences [IES].
New Provider Self-Care and Online Engagement Products!: Provides a series of one-page exercises detailing self-care techniques, as well as guidance on conducting and facilitating engaging online meetings. These products, offered by SAMHSA’s Addiction Technology Transfer Center [ATTC] Network – though geared towards healthcare providers – are more widely applicable.
8 Strategies to Prevent Teaching Burnout: Offers suggestions from an instructional designer to help teachers cope with the high demands of instruction in the COVID-19 era including on-line and polysynchronous class formats, increased teaching loads, and work-from-home problems. The author asserts that the wide range of newly popular teaching formats — HyFlex, blended, and others — are here to stay. The strategies are offered through the Chronicle of Higher Education to help college faculty regain appropriate work/life balance in the context of whatever mix of online formats they plan to use this semester.
Tips for Supporting Employee Mental Health Toolkit: Offers a new toolkit from Mental Health First Aid [MHFA] at Work to support employees’ mental health during the transition back to in-person work more than a year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Principals Are Stressed and Anxious, Especially Now. Here's 10 Things They Can Do: Reports on a discussion among an expert panel for Education Week about strategies that K-12 school principals can use to manage their own anxiety amid the pandemic, to be able to provide sufficient emotional support for their teachers and students.
Educator Self-Assessment for Supporting Student Well-Being: Furnishes an educator self-assessment for supporting student well-being, and an array of trauma-informed strategies to foster student well-being and resilience during the pandemic. Strategies outlined by the Center for Great Teachers and Leaders can be used to support all students, while emphasizing the importance of identifying students who require support that is typically provided through more targeted and intensive mental health interventions. The included Educator Context and Stress Spectrum was designed to support teachers and principals to gain a greater awareness of how their current personal and professional context affects their levels of stress during COVID-19. The self-assessment resource includes a self-care planning tool to help teachers identify areas of strength and growth, and to develop self-care plans.
Sustaining the Well-Being of Healthcare Personnel During Coronavirus and Other Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Explains foreseeable roadblocks for health care professionals (e.g., school nurses, counselors, and social workers) during infectious disease outbreaks and suggests numerous self-care strategies and actions available to professionals whose schedules often require special attention for those in need.
Self-Care Strategies for Educators During the Coronavirus Crisis: Supporting Personal Social and Emotional Well-Being: Introduces practical self-care information for educators on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic facing stressors like school closures, online service provision, and quarantine conditions. This brief, from West-Ed’s Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety [CISELSS], offers practical information and guidance on self-care in these challenging times.
CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019: Manage Anxiety & Stress: Provides explanation and resources to help individuals (parents, caregivers, first responders and other professionals, people with existing mental health challenges) anticipate, prepare for and manage fear, anxiety and extraordinary stress.
See also, CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response: Taking Care of Your Emotional Health
Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (en Español): Provides tips for coping with stress during an infectious disease outbreak. This SAMHSA fact sheet describes common signs of stress and how to recognize when to get help.
Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty & Stress: Provides participants with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to understand and manage their emotions and those of their students. This free, 10-hour online course, developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is designed for school staff, including teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, principals, and non-teaching staff in pre-K-12 schools.
Taking Care of Yourself: Offers a list of best practices individuals can utilize in maintaining awareness, finding balance, and connecting after difficult events. This self-care guidance reflects the expert perspective of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health During an Infectious Disease Outbreak (en Español): Describes feelings and thoughts individuals may have during and after social distancing, quarantine and isolation. This SAMHSA tip sheet suggests ways to care for one’s own behavioral health in these circumstances and provides resources for more help.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Crisis Response Practice Guide (North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction): Serves as a resource to support the social-emotional needs of staff and students during school closures and in planning for re-opening. Six major recommendations address crisis response and social emotional learning (SEL) that can be implemented when schools are closed. Recommendation #7 focuses on key SEL strategies that support safe and compassionate re-entry for students and staff when brick-and-mortar instruction resumes. Key information resources and tools are linked to each of the seven recommendations.
Six Ways to Find Your Courage During Challenging Times: The science of courage might offer a psychological lifeline to help educators and others clarify what really matters so they can bring a steady, values-based resolve to their work (and even inspire it in others). This column from the Greater Good Science Center (University of California – Berkeley) explores the literature in courage research with teachers in mind; offers six evidence-supported ways educators can tap into their capacities for courage; and links to several publications on this topic, including materials suitable to teach social and behavioral skills for courage to students, too.
FACT SHEET: In One Year of the Biden-Harris Administration, the U.S. Department of Education Has Helped Schools Safely Reopen and Meet Students' Needs: Chronicles the US Department of Education [ED]’s top 10 accomplishments supporting students’ safe return to in-person learning. Topping the list: 95% of public K-12 schools are now open for full-time in-person learning (up from 46% a year ago); and investments of $122-billion in American Rescue Plan funding for K-12 schools, and $40-billion to over 5,000 higher education institutions. The fact sheet summaries link to more detailed primary sources; and concludes, “As 2022 begins, ED remains committed to delivering necessary supports to our schools, students, and teachers, while continuing to advance President Biden’s vision of building our education system back better than before the COVID-19 pandemic.”
SchoolSafety.gov: Created by the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security [DHS], Education [ED], Justice [DOJ], and Health and Human Services [HHS], SchoolSafety.gov shares actionable recommendations to keep school communities safe. SchoolSafety.gov aims to help schools prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from a range of school safety threats, hazards, and emergency situations. The website addresses eight major school safety topics, including “Infectious Diseases and Public Health,” and student “Mental Health.”
Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers: Presents President Biden’s 1/21/21 Executive Order 14000 to ensure that students receive a high-quality education during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and to support the safe reopening and continued operation of schools, child care providers, Head Start programs, and institutions of higher education. Click here for .pdf copy of the full executive order, published in the Federal Register 1/26/21.
National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness: Outlines the Administration's January 2021 actionable plan, across the federal government, to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including twelve initial executive actions issued by President Biden.
HHS Leaders Urge States to Maximize Efforts to Support Children's Mental Health: Announces (05/25/22) a new joint letter to states, tribes, and jurisdictions encouraging them to prioritize and maximize their efforts to strengthen children’s mental health and well-being. The letter, signed by leaders of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and the Administration for Community Living (ACL), outlines HHS’ plans to support and facilitate state-level coordination across federal funding streams to advance and expand mental health services for children. The joint letter provides links to pertinent programs of each of the contributing DHHS agencies.
Fact Sheet: President Biden Announces Strategy to Address Our National Mental Health Crisis: Lays out the Biden Administration’s vision to transform how mental health is understood, perceived, accessed, treated, and integrated – in and out of health care settings. As a precursor to his 3/1/22 State of the Union address, President Biden announced a national mental health strategy to strengthen system capacity, connect more Americans to care, and create a continuum of support – “transforming our health and social services infrastructure to address mental health holistically and equitably.” Mr. Biden stated, “The American Rescue Plan laid the groundwork, providing critical investments to expand access to mental health services. Now, far more is needed to ensure that everyone who needs help can access care when and where they seek it.”
Fact Sheet: Addressing Addiction and the Overdose Epidemic: Lays out the Biden Administration’s strategies to build upon the significant efforts advanced through its first-year drug policy priorities and the American Rescue Plan. In conjunction with his 3/1/22 State of the Union address, President Biden outlined the actions his Administration is taking to address addiction and the overdose epidemic, and articulated a vision for how his Administration will continue to expand evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and supply reduction approaches to save lives.
Mental Health Care in the United States: The Case for Federal Action: Synthesizes and reports public fact-finding efforts through three recent Senate Finance Committee hearings, and more than 300 responses to a bipartisan request for information (RFI). This March 2022 report addresses five policy areas: the behavioral health workforce; care integration, coordination, and access; mental health parity; telehealth; and improving care for children and young people. Chairman Ron Wyden explained, “This report marks the Finance Committee’s next step in the bipartisan effort to understand the behavioral health care crisis in the U.S. and, further, to craft a legislative package, which the Committee intends to consider this summer.”
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Provides the latest updates on the national pandemic situation, including guidance for how to protect individual health and reduce virus transmission, updates to scientific data that serves as a basis for CDC guidance, extensive information about COVID-19 vaccines, state-specific data and links to public health websites, and information resources for specific audiences including healthcare professionals and facilities, families, child care and school settings.
Changing Age Distribution of the COVID-19 Pandemic - United States, May-August 2020: Shares age trends for COVID-19 during May–August 2020 for 50 states and the District of Columbia. COVID-19 incidence was highest in persons aged 20–29 years, who likely contribute to community transmission of COVID-19. The CDC advises that strict adherence to community mitigation strategies and personal preventive behaviors by younger adults is needed to help reduce infection and subsequent transmission to persons at higher risk for severe illness.
Schools and Child Care Programs: Provides guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] for how schools, summer camps, and youth recreational sport institutions can plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19. Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance (10/18/21). CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools: Provides guidance (updated 10/22/21) for individuals who oversee the daily operations of public and private childcare programs and K-12 schools, at both the school/facility and district level. The guidance can help programs, schools and their partners understand how to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19; to respond quickly should a case be identified; and to plan for the continuity of teaching and learning if there is community spread of COVID-19.
See especially, Families and Children (updated 8/2/21).
Secretary Cardona Lays Out Vision for Education in America (01/27/22): Lays out Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s vision for continued recovery through the pandemic, and his priorities for broader investments in America's education system to ensure all students can succeed and thrive. During the 22-minute address (click here for YouTube video; or click here for transcript), Secretary Cardona discussed key strategies the U.S. Department of Education, schools, and colleges and universities must take to help students, educators, and school communities – from preschool through postsecondary education – continue to recover from the pandemic and address inequities that have long existed in our education system.
Update on the IES (Institute of Education Sciences) Use of ARP Funds: Provides an update (8/31/21) by IES director Mark Schneider on how ED’s IES is using $100-million appropriated through the American Rescue Plan [ARP] to invest in research grants, gather data through the School Pulse, and make sure the information IES generates about accelerating learning is translated into forms that are useful, usable, and used.
The Road to Learning Recovery: Announces appropriation of $100-million in American Rescue Plan [ARP] to conduct research related to learning losses caused by COVID-19. The Institute of Education Sciences [IES] at the US Department of Education was ordered by President Biden (March 2021) to administer surveys to identify school and instructional changes in response to the pandemic, identify and disseminate effective practices; invest in innovative approaches (e.g. artificial intelligence) to deal with learning loss and close longstanding achievement gaps; and focus certain investments on particularly hard-hit student populations (e.g. students in special education, in foster care, and students who are homeless).
U.S. Department of Education Launches Best Practices Clearinghouse to Highlight Innovative Practices for Reopening Schools and Campuses (4/30/21): Announces the U.S. Department of Education (ED) launch of the Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse, a website that highlights the innovative work underway nationwide in continuing to reopen K-12 schools, early childhood centers and postsecondary institutions. Through the Clearinghouse, the Department is providing examples of how schools and other educational institutions can safely reopen as communities continue recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department of Education Announces American Rescue Plan Funds for All 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to Help Schools Reopen (3/31/21): Announced the amount of American Recovery Plan [ARP] Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief [ESSER] funding that each State, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia will receive “to support their efforts to reopen K-12 schools safely this month and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most.” The announcement coincided with the Department of Health and Human Services' announcement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $10 billion to states to support COVID-19 screening testing for K-12 teachers, staff, and students in schools. Additional information, including an ARP ESSER Fact Sheet and allocation tables, can be found at https://oese.ed.gov/american-rescue-plan-elementary-and-secondary-school-emergency-relief.
ED COVID-19 Handbook Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools: Presents the first volume in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) COVID-19 Handbook, a series intended to support the education community as schools reopen. This series provides tools to aid educators in implementing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance by addressing common challenges and providing practical examples. This series is updated as additional scientific evidence becomes available, including evidence related to new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. This handbook does not have the force or effect of law and is not binding in any way (except where statutory or regulatory requirements are referenced).
COVID-19 Handbook Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs: Presents the second volume in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) COVID-19 Handbook. This volume provides additional strategies for safely reopening all of America's schools and to promote educational equity by addressing opportunity gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. To access the accompanying 4/9/21 press release click here.
COVID-19 Handbook Volume 3: Strategies for Safe Operation and Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Students, Faculty, and Staff: Presents the third volume in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) COVID-19 Handbook. This volume provides additional strategies for higher education institutions (IHEs) and communities as they work to reopen for in-person instruction safely and equitably. To access the accompanying 6/4/21 press release click here.
COVID-19 Resources for Schools, Students and Families: Presents selected information resources to assist both K-12 schools and higher education institutions to disseminate critical information about the disease and its potential transmission to students, families, staff and community members. ED regularly updates this page as more information and resources become available. Readers are invited to send questions on which the Department can be helpful to: COVIDemail@example.com.
Comprehensive Center Network COVID-19 Education Resources: Offers a repository for education resources related to COVID-19. Additional resources and further curation are updated by Westat under a grant from the Department of Education's Office of Program and Grantee Support Services [PGSS] within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education [OESE].
Resources for Education Providers and Families: Presents information about specific resources, organized by topical areas and intended audience, curated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education [ED-OESE]. Resources include websites, webinars, guidance documents, practice briefs and tools created by OESE, its technical assistance centers and other partners across the Department and government to support K-12 education programs. In the wake of the COVID-19 national public health emergency, this collection includes topical pages about Safe School Environments and Social Emotional and Behavioral Support. These pages provide resources to support district leaders, school leaders, and educators in creating welcoming, safe, and supportive learning environments.
Continuity of Learning During COVID-19: Offers information, tools, and resources to help educators, parents and families, and related service providers meet the educational, behavioral, and emotional needs of children and youth with disabilities through remote and virtual learning. This dedicated webpage of the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provides a searchable database of resources and information for educators, parents and families, and related service providers to support students with disabilities. The webpage also links to the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) repositories for resources addressing continuity of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Types of Impact Aid: Impact Aid Basic Support payments are distributed to school districts through a formula based on the number of students served who meet certain "federal connection" qualifications. Generally, school districts receive payments if they educate students who have a parent who works for the federal government or who live on federal property. Federally connected students include those who:
- Have a parent in the United States military;
- are Native American;
- live on federal property, including an Indian reservation or in public housing; or
- have a parent who works on federal property.
School districts are eligible to receive Basic Support Payments if at least 400 of their students, or 3 percent of their enrollment, are federally connected. (The 1,124 school districts that received Basic Support payments in 2014 educated over 8.6 million students, nearly 870,000 of whom are federally connected.) There are five types of Impact Aid: Basic Support Payments, Payments for Property, Disability Payments, Department of Defense Supplemental Impact Aid Payments, and Construction Payments.
Impact Aid Coronavirus Relief Act: Signed into law 12/4/20 as Public Law 116-211, provides that, due to the disruptions caused by COVID–19, applications for impact aid funding for fiscal year 2022 may use certain data submitted in the fiscal year 2021 application.
Impact Aid Grant System - Resources: This is the Department of Education’s main web-based collection of information resources, grant applications, training slides, survey instruments, payment calculation tools, and other technical resources central to utilization of Impact Aid.
What Congressional COVID Funding Means for K-12 Schools: Provides an overall summary of the education-related appropriations and provisions of the three major federal relief packages: Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security [CARES] Act, (March 2020); Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act [CRRSA], (December 2020); and American Rescue Plan Act [ARPA], (March 2021). This resource by FutureEd also links to several specific resources, including the Biden Administration’s detailed explanation of K-12 funding requested in the American Rescue Plan, and a state-by-state funding tracker from Education Week.
ARP PATHS: The American Rescue Plan Act Partnership, Assistance, Transformation, and Heightened Support Resource for States: Provides a resource to help states share their progress deploying American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds to support safe in-person instruction, address the effects of lost instructional time due to COVID-19, and meet students’ social, emotional, mental health and academic needs. The Department of Education, and its technical assistance partner, the National Comprehensive Center, have developed this optional resource as a support for SEAs and LEAs to communicate how they are working to ensure that funds are used appropriately and effectively, as intended by the law, and are targeted to support the students most impacted by the pandemic. The tool includes several considerations for States as they determine how to build capacity and communicate their work with these and other federal pandemic recovery funds.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act - Educational Provisions: Provides a high-level summary of provisions in the CARES Act related to K-12 education, college attendance and federal school loans, child care relief for families and frontline workers, and related agencies (e.g. AmeriCorps). The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor produced this 2-page fact sheet (3/31/20).
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act - Summary of K-12 Education Provisions: Presents a one-page summary of CARES Act provisions and appropriations for state education agencies, institutions of higher education, and other education-related entities, by the Alliance for Excellent Education.
3 Key Ways School Districts Are Using CARES Act Funding to Support the Whole Child: Offered a November 2020 perspective on the status of the CARES Act’s $13.2-billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to support school districts (including public schools, private schools, and charter schools) through the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog from Panorama Education offers examples of school system investments in personal protective equipment (PPE), summer learning, bridging the digital divide to improve access to distance learning, large-scale supports for student mental health and well-being, and incorporation of social-emotional learning (SEL) and equity in school reopening and recovery plans.
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund: Explains how the December 2020 CRRSA relief package added $54.3 billion to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund [ESSER II Fund] initially funded at $13.2-billion [ESSER Fund] in the March 2020 CARES Act. At this webpage, developed by ED’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education [OESE], education officials can find an ESSER II Fact Sheet; the CRRSA ESSER II methodology and allocation table; and numerous links to ED information resources detailing administrative aspects of the CARES Act and CRRSA K-12 funding.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Distribution of All American Rescue Plan ESSER Funds and Approval of All 52 State Education Agency Plans: Announces that every state education agency (SEA) received approval of their American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan before the end of December 2021. As a result, the U.S. Department of Education has distributed all $122 billion of ARP ESSER funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. A comprehensive table linking to each SEA’s state plans, as submitted and as finally approved, is provided here. The table also includes or links to school district (LEA)-level plans in more than 40 states (all SEAs are required to provide access to LEA-level plans for ARP ESSER spending).
U.S. Department of Education, National Comprehensive Center Release Latest Tool to Support Effective Use of American Rescue Plan Funds: Announces 01/28/22 release of a resource to help states share their progress deploying the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds that support safe in-person instruction, address the effects of lost instructional time due to COVID-19, and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students. The ARP Partnership, Assistance, Transformation, and Heightened Support (ARP PATHS) tool invites states to describe the strategies they are implementing that could serve as promising practices for other states and the nation. The new tool is available here.
American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) State Plan Application Technical Assistance: Provides 4/29/21 and 9/2/21 webinar recordings and slide decks from a series of technical assistance "office hours" sessions hosted by ED’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education during May-August 2021, to help SEAs and LEAs understand how funding under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, including the American Rescue Plan ESSER (ARP ESSER) program, and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief [GEER] Fund may be used in response to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on students in pre-K–12 education. This site provides responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), offers a 9/1/21 fact sheet, Supporting School Districts in Timely Investment of American Rescue Plan Act Funds, offers Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time, and addresses maintenance of effort and maintenance of equity requirements. The page also links to each SEA’s submitted ARP ESSER state plans.
How States Are Spending American Rescue Plan Funds: Shares the status of American Relief Plan [ARP] allocations in states, and state funding amounts and priorities, with a focus on health-related uses of the funding. This clickable map of states is presented by the National Academy for State Health Policy [NASHP]. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act [ARP] provides significant funding for continued pandemic response and beginning the road to recovery, including $195.3 billion in Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds that must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and expended by December 31, 2026. The map and attached state profiles show how states are in different stages of allocating this funding.
States Use American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Strengthen Home and Community-Based Service Workforce: Provides a table depicting how states have proposed to use the one-time ARP funds to bolster their respective workforces that provide home and community-based services. Presented by the National Academy for State Health Policy [NASHP], the table examines three basic strategies: increasing reimbursement rates, providing new opportunities for professional advancement, and offering recruitment and retention incentives. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing shortages in behavioral health and long-term care providers. States are leveraging an enhanced match opportunity available through the American Rescue Plan Act to address — Section 9817, which has given states an opportunity to receive a 10% increase in the federal medical assistance program (FMAP) for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) through March 31, 2022.
American Rescue Plan Act - Summary of K-12 Provisions: Presents a one-page summary of APRA provisions and appropriations for state education agencies, institutions of higher education, and other education-related entities, by the Alliance for Excellent Education, including a link to the full text of the legislation (H.R. 1319).
Guide to Family, School, and Community Engagement in State ARP/ESSER Applications: Highlights funding opportunities for family, school and community engagement [FSCE] within the March 2021 American Rescue Plan [ARP]. This guide, produced by the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement [NAFSCE], identifies family, school, and community engagement (FSCE) opportunities for SEAs to address within their state plans.
Rescue Me: How the American Rescue Plan Act Helps Students: Explains critical provisions of the relief act – signed by President Biden on 3/12/21 - that have allocated additional resources to support learning loss, provide education and wrap-around services to students experiencing homelessness, and increase access to broadband and technology. This short 7-minute video – part of the Federal Flash series by the Alliance for Excellent Education -- overviews salient dimensions of the legislation, including an equity protection to ensure states do not cut funding disproportionately in high-poverty communities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended provisions to provide free school meals for all students, and the U.S. Department of Education has now released the application for states to waive federal school accountability requirements.
An Unparallel Investment in U.S. Public Education: Analysis of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Details the opportunities and requirements of states to use funds from the largest-ever federal investment in K-12 education to address both short-term needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help make schools more equitable and “whole child”-focused in the longer term. This analysis by the Learning Policy Institute details statutory requirements for dispersal of relief funds among state [SEA] and local education agencies [LEA] to enable and facilitate students’ safe return to in-person learning as soon as practicable; to address lost learning, support after-school and summer learning programs; and for any other generally allowable use of federal funds. The site also links to an interactive tool to explore the funding breakdown, by purpose, for each state.
HHS Announces More Than $100 Million in Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Funds for States and Territories to Improve Mental Health Services: Announces (10/21/22) more than $100 million in funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act [BSCA] to states and territories for mental health emergency preparedness, crisis response, and the expansion of 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline services. HHS awarded $59.4 million to states and territories through the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) program, and also announced the availability of another $50 million in supplemental grant funding, provided by BSCA, to help states and territories expand and enhance 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline services.
USA.gov - COVID-19: Links to a broad range of assistance offered by the federal government (e.g. child tax credit and stimulus checks; financial assistance for food, housing and bills; passports and travel during COVID-19; small business loans and assistance; unemployment benefits). A Spanish version is also available.
Supporting Students and Teachers with Benefits.gov: Provides students, parents and teachers with information about resources that can help them to succeed in the classroom. Benefits.gov offers information about school lunch and breakfast programs and other health and nutrition supports; resources for educators, including on-line professional development opportunities, fellowship programs, and even some targeted home purchase opportunities. This webpage offers a “benefit finder” tool that can help visitors find benefits for which they might qualify.
Ready to Respond: Mental Health Beyond Crisis and COVID-19 - Reimagining a Sustainable and Robust Continuum of Psychiatric Care: Provides 10 authoritative papers on critical topics related to crisis services and post-COVID-19 vision for mental health services. Commissioned by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA] and executed by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors [NASMHPD], this September 2021 compendium is offered as a coordinated set of guiding documents for local, state and national mental health system leaders from leading experts in areas ranging from children in crisis to financing and data collection, partnership with law enforcement in crisis response, suicide prevention and disaster behavioral health response. Throughout the series the authors contemplate issues of diversity and equity to help continue to drive services in the direction of equal access to all.
SAMHSA Releases 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Announces release (10/26/21) of findings from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health [NSDUH]. The data suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted Americans’ mental health, including by exacerbating use of alcohol or drugs. Youth ages 12 to 17 who had a past-year major depressive episode (MDE) reported the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected their mental health “quite a bit or a lot.” “SAMHSA’s annual NSDUH provides helpful data on the extent of substance use and mental health issues in the United States,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., who leads SAMHSA. “These data show the urgent need to intervene at every opportunity to reduce substance use disorder and meet people where they are,” said Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Regina LaBelle. People searching for treatment for mental or substance use disorders can find treatment by visiting findtreatment.samhsa.gov, or by calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Children's Bureau, DHS Administration for Children and Families
A Message on COVID-19 from the Children's Bureau: Provides curated resources for children involved in the child welfare system, foster care providers, child welfare providers, and child welfare workforce guidance from medical professionals about ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during an infectious disease outbreak. Updated September 2021.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights
FAQ on Telehealth and HIPAA During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency: Provides responses to frequency asked questions on the provision of telehealth as it related to HIPAA compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic from the DHHS Office for Civil Rights.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights
Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency: Includes information on the easing of HIPAA telehealth enforcement for the COVID-19 emergency by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights.
SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19: Highlights products and resources that can be useful when coping with the effects of widespread public health crises such as assisting community leaders in addressing psychosocial impacts of disasters; and supportive practices for mental health professionals during pandemic-related social distancing. Imminent webinar opportunities, published tools, guides and tip sheets, technical clinical information for prescribers and other practitioners, asynchronous on-line training curricula, and policy-related (e.g., confidentiality and privacy requirements and regulations) are among wide range of topics linked to this regularly updated collection.
State (American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief [ARP]) Plans: Provides state ARP ESSER Plan Applications as submitted by SEAs, total award amount per state, ED approval status and approved state materials (i.e. final state ESSER plan, ED approval letter) and related communications materials (e.g. state plan highlights, ED press release). Links/files posted at this site by ED’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education [OESE] include many submitted by state education agencies (SEA). Should an SEA wish to update any of the links/files posted above, it should contact its State mailbox at STATE.firstname.lastname@example.org (e.g. Alabama.email@example.com). ED updates links when it receives new or revised information from States; and some state-provided links take the reader to a landing page where additional steps are needed to access the data.
The California Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Projects (en Espanol): Offers an online series of free, evidence-based videos, study guides and other print resources that caregivers and educators can use to teach their kids critical mental health and coping skills. Topics include: understanding feelings; relaxation skills; understanding thoughts; managing intense emotions; and mindfulness. The project was born of an innovative partnership between the state of California and the Child Mind Institute.
Pivoting to Remote Learning: Why It Is Harder in Some States Than Others: Reports and considers information from 46 state education agencies (January 2022) about how they are handling district decisions about transitioning to remote learning as the “omicron variant” of COVID-19 has caused widespread teacher shortages, spikes in student absenteeism, and a dearth of school bus drivers. “In at least five states, virtual learning days are highly restricted, due to state regulations. Districts have limited flexibility to transition to full-time remote instruction in at least 10 other states. More than half of states let districts decide on their own. This analysis by Education Week discusses the complexity of factors influencing such decisions and emphasizes that “No matter who makes the call about remote learning, policymakers and district leaders must be able to explain it to the community. That can be tough, especially since the situation with the virus is so fluid.”
U.S. Department of Education Posts State Plans for Use of American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Students and the Safe and Sustained Reopening of Schools: Announces online posting of 45 plans submitted by State Education Agencies (SEAs) that describe how they intend to use American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds to support schools, students and educators.
States Address Students' Transition Back to School: Tracks state policies implementing or banning mask mandates in schools, including policies in many states that have left decisions on school mask mandates up to localities. The map-based database, developed and managed by the National Academy for State Health Policy, is part of a resource page that also includes policies states are enacting for back-to-school for 2021-22, including vaccines and mental health.
Mental Health and Substance Use State Fact Sheets: Examines national and state-level data on mental health (MH) and substance use (SUD) both before and during the coronavirus pandemic. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that MH outcomes, access, and coverage vary from state to state. This product highlights findings from a national analysis; and presents detailed state-level data for all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
State Approaches to Addressing Student Mental Health: Highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated student mental health challenges, illustrates a common framework for student mental health services, and summarizes state legislative trends in supporting students to prevent, identify and address student mental health in schools. The Education Commission of the States developed this policy brief (May 2021).
Student Mental Health Services Ecosystem: Describes context for student mental health services spanning two major sectors (health and human services, and K-12 education), and three levels of governance, policy and funding (federal, state and local) to support decision-making and oversight for system development, maintenance and improvement. This brief by the Education Commission of the States also provides examples of coordinated efforts among those entities from six states (CO, IA, MD, MN, NC and OH), including hyperlinks to seminal documents from each.
As COVID-19 spreads, most states have laws that address how schools should respond to pandemics: Presents a state-by-state database of the text of state statutes and regulations—as well as noncodified guidance from state health and education agencies—that relates to pandemic planning for schools. Child Trends and EMT Associates, Inc. have designed this tool as a resource for educators, policymakers and general audiences to learn more about pandemic planning for schools within their states.
COVID-19 State Action Center: Publishes resources to both feature, and inform, pertinent developments in state-level health policy to address and manage the COVID-19 pandemic. An updated tracker of state vaccine mandates was added to the site in October 2021. This tracking resource is compiled and updated by the National Academy for State Health Policy.
Chart: States' COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declarations, Mask Requirements and Travel Advisories: Describes each state’s latest emergency orders and actions designed to safeguard residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, including statewide mask requirements and travel advisories. The Biden Administration has also issues a mask mandate for federal properties and recommendations for states and businesses in this executive order. The National Academy of State Health Policy [NASHP] hosts this process as part of its COVID-19 State Action Center.
First Look Brief: National Survey on Public Education’s Coronavirus Pandemic Response: Reports preliminary findings of large-scale nationally representative survey to understand how school districts and charter school management organizations (CMOs) are responding to the pandemic. This brief by the American Institutes for Research [AIR] previewed survey results about districts’ approaches to distance learning during the spring 2020 months of the pandemic. Subsequent research briefs, technical supplements, an interactive data tool, and recorded podcasts and webinars about this continuing survey are available here.
State Policies to Address COVID-19 School Closure: Tracks policy responses to coronavirus emergency across all 50 states. Details on each state are compiled in a searchable database. This website is maintained and updated (March 2021) by Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) and Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR).
Worldometer: United States Coronavirus Cases: Continuously updates state-by-state database to track key COVID-19 statistics (diagnosed cases, rate of testing, deaths) that are central to re-opening planning.
NGA Education’s State Reopening Tracking: Provides an overview of key guidance that was issued by states and governors between March and December 2020, and indicates actions that states took to reopen educational settings. These include child care settings, camps and summer school programming, athletics, K-12 schools, and postsecondary institutions. This tracker is no longer being regularly updated as of December 2020. NGA has kept this information here as a historical reference.
COVID-19: What You Need to Know: Provides current information on actions states and territories have taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as advocacy, policy, and guidance documents for protecting public health. This tracker is maintained by the National Governors Association [NGA].
Responding to COVID-19 School Mental Health: Provides a large, vetted, frequently updated on-line library of events and resources related to school mental health and COVID-19. This resource is provided by the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center [MHTTC] Network, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration [SAMHSA].
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine [NASEM] COVID-19 Responses and Resources: Presents products and events reflecting the rapid response of the National Academies [NASEM] to inform government response and recovery efforts with evidence-based guidance. This website announces upcoming learning events and webinars, and archives recordings and materials from previous and recent events. It also offers technical reports, policy report, and hosts communications to facilitate collaboration across research disciplines and between the public and private sectors.
COVID-19 Responses from the National Center for School Mental Health: Presents resources that offer general information about the coronavirus (signs and symptoms, official national and international updates); that can support schools in educating students effectively while protecting their health and emotional wellbeing; and that can serve parents and caregivers by informing their support for young children and youth as they weather the crisis and the many transitions it is causing.
Succeeding During the Pandemic (Comprehensive Center Network): Provides a repository for educational resources related to COVID-19 to help state, regional and local education agencies (SEAs, REAs, LEAs) and schools succeed during the pandemic. It includes resources produced by the National Comprehensive Center’s Systemic Technical Assistance Team (STAT) to meet the needs of students and educators during significant disruptions. It also includes information about how the pandemic is affecting school district revenues, and what related financial turmoil might mean for public education. The collection also includes a set of links to resources that have been curated by National Center staff to support continuity of learning during the pandemic.
School Social Workers Association of America [SSWAA] Resources: Offers eight resources developed by SSWAA, and more than 40 additional, external resources curated by the organization to address COVID-19-related challenges.
National Council for Behavioral Health
Resources and Tools for Addressing Coronavirus (COVID 19): Offers curated information resources for the general public, and for behavioral health organizations, focusing on understanding, mitigating and addressing behavioral health impacts of the pandemic on individuals, families and organizations.
REMS TA Center
Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-19: Presents free products and resources to support education agencies in their infectious disease planning efforts. Accesses training packages, publications, online courses, tabletop exercises and more on our new COVID-19 Resources Page. "Resources developed or shared by the REMS TA Center with COVID-19-related information may in part or whole become obsolete, due to changing circumstances. We will maintain this page and the currency of information as much as possible. Any and all information or recommendations are superseded by what is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the most up-to-date information, we encourage you to regularly visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/."