Planning and Sustaining COVID-19 Recovery

Teacher wearing mask sitting next to young girl

Since 2020, schools have played an important role in helping health officials and communities respond to the COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") pandemic across the United States. By collaborating and coordinating with State and local health departments, State and local educational agencies, other education leaders, and elected officials, school systems have played a primary role in supporting students, their families, and staff during these difficult 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, the National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environment [NCSSLE] appreciates the extraordinary challenges for school systems and communities as they mitigate adverse impacts the pandemic has generated for youngsters, their families, schools and communities. On behalf of the U.S. 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.

Featured Resources

Social Media and Youth Mental Health – The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory (2023): Presents Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD’s public warning about the risks of social media to young people, urging a push to fully understand the possible ‘harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.’” Murthy, in this 19-page advisory, noted that the effects of social media on adolescent mental health were not fully understood, and that social media can be beneficial to some users; but “There are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”

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.

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.

K-12 Education

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

Higher Education


General Resources

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

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

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

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