Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As health officials take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") into communities across the United States, schools are playing an important role. Through collaboration and coordination with State and local health departments, State and local educational agencies, other education officials, and elected officials, schools can disseminate critical information about the disease and its potential transmission to students, families, staff, and community. In addition, as schools manage closures, they can support students, their families, and staff during these uncertain times.  To help schools in communicating key information and buiding a safe, supportive, virtual learning environment, the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments has identified resources that can help.

Note: This webpage will be updated on an ongoing basis. 

Federal Resources

President’s Coronavirus Task Force

Coronavirus.gov: Serves as a primary communication platform for the President’s Coronavirus Task Force. This website explains the symptoms of COVID-19 and risk factors for transmission and acute illness; publishes updates from federal agencies on salient aspects of the pandemic; explains social distancing and other preventive actions individuals can/should take; and conveys an extensive set of linked documents for additional information, including Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Provides the latest updates on the national pandemic situation, including guidance for how to protect individual health and reduce virus transmission, what to do if you think you are sick, 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.

Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs: How to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)Provides guidance 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, Checklists for Teachers and Parents.

What the U.S. Government is Doing in Response to COVID-19? 

Government Response to Coronavirus, COVID-19: Provides a list of what each federal agency is doing to address COVID-19, including links to access additional resources and information.  A Spanish version is also available.

U.S. Department of Education

COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Information and Resources for Schools and School PersonnelPresents 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: COVID-19@ed.gov.

State Resources

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

Interactive Map: Coronavirus and School Closures: Shows status of school closures in all 50 states. This site is updated at least daily by Education Week, which is hosting an extensive website on Coronavirus and Schools.  

Examples of State Actions and Approaches

Illinois: Education-Related Guidance for Schools and School Districts Regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 (3/12/20) Delivers guidance from Illinois’ State Board of Education to schools and school districts to inform decisions regarding student absenteeism, school closures, e-learning program options and other ideas for home learning.  This document includes links to numerous free resources regarding e-learning and other home learning options.

Kentucky: New KDE Task Force Will Aid Districts During COVID-19 Closure Period: Describes the Education Continuation Task Force, a group that will serve as a guiding coalition to help facilitate the delivery of services to Kentucky students during the current period of school closure.

Louisiana: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions for K-12 Schools

Wisconsin: K-12 School Closure FAQs (3/15/20): Provides guidance to Wisconsin school districts for implementing the Governor’s order to close all public and private schools.  The guidance also refers readers to a specific Information on COVID-19 website established by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.