Equity Focus

High-quality education helps ensure that all children in the nation reach their full potential and succeed. While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, impacts and challenges may be experienced differently across and within different communities.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hit the reset button. With the American Rescue Plan, States and districts have access to resources and funding to not only reopen our schools for in-person instruction, but to address gaps that existed before and were made worse by the pandemic. Let’s fix what wasn’t working before, and finally build an education system that works for all students — especially those furthest from opportunity.”
Dr. Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education

As the nation’s PreK-12 schools, early childhood programs, colleges and universities, and institutions of postsecondary education continue to reopen, a distinct focus on expanding equity in education must be top of mind. Communities have responded to the pandemic in innovative ways to ensure that students, young children, and families continue to have access to the tools they need to succeed, regardless of location or circumstance. Whether addressing connectivity needs, providing necessities, collaborating with community stakeholders, or supporting students and young children from a wide variety of backgrounds, providers from early childhood education to higher education have worked diligently throughout the pandemic to ensure that students and young children continue to succeed. Now, as students and young children continue to return to the classroom and programs, educational equity remains a central element in reopening plans.

The resources on this page share school, early childhood program, and campus strategies that specifically address equity. Teachers, early childhood providers, faculty, staff, schools, districts, early childhood programs, institutions of higher education, other places of educational instruction, and States may use these lessons learned, best practices, and Federal resources to create inclusive plans of action to support teachers, early childhood educators, faculty, and staff returning to schools, early childhood programs, and campuses.

A group of Native Americans wearing masks
What Tribal Communities Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

Each tribal nation or State has its own plan for deciding who will be vaccinated first. Contact your health department or clinic to find out when and where vaccines will be available in your community.

Tools for Emotional Wellness

Illustration of Tools for Emotional Wellness text in cartoon font.

The National Academies Press | Tools for Supporting Emotional Wellbeing in Children and Youth

While fewer children and youth have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, the COVID-19 pandemic still affects them. Children and youth are dealing with new challenges, like social distancing, changes to their routines, and a lost sense of security and safety, making them especially vulnerable to feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. For some children, these challenges are exacerbated by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on their communities.

Black and Hispanic Americans, in particular, have faced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases in the United States, and Black and Hispanic students were less likely to have access to online learning.

Seizing the Moment: Race Equity Mindsets, Social and Emotional Well-Being, and Outcomes for Students

This webinar consisted of a panel discussion on the relationships between race equity mindsets; social and emotional well-being; and outcomes of Black, Latinx and other students of color. Presenters shared evidence-based strategies for school and district leaders in shifting to a race equity mindset, highlighting the importance of positive social and emotional experiences in advancing equitable environments and outcomes. An accompanying webinar handout is included, providing tips, questions to consider, and additional resources.

Submit Your Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Have a lessons learned or best practice focused on helping to ensure equity as schools and campuses work to continually reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic? Visit the Best Practices Submission page to view details on submission requirements, and then e-mail Bestpracticesclearinghouse@ed.gov to share your lessons learned or best practice.

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Have feedback to share on a resource accessed on the Clearinghouse site? We want to hear from you. Select the button below to share your feedback with the U.S. Department of Education and the Clearinghouse team.