Providing Supports to Young Children, Students, and Families

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented crisis with acute consequences for young children, students, families and caregivers, faculty, staff, and whole school and campus communities. Young children, and students may be experiencing social isolation, loss of a loved one or other trauma, or anxiety in relation to the pandemic. Young children and students, as well as their families and caregivers, may be experiencing unemployment and difficulties providing for basic needs such as food, housing and health care. The academic impact of lost instructional time is a serious issue across the nation as many students have fallen behind academically.

“Data collection must be dynamic and local: learning losses are not evenly distributed across the education system, nor are the systemic challenges millions of students face, such as uneven connectivity, inconsistent transportation, and, of course, health disparities. Each of these needs must be understood for effective response and recovery.”
Mark Schneider, Director of IES

The pandemic has exacerbated barriers to opportunity often already a reality for young children and students from historically underserved populations including those with disabilities; English learners; those from low-income backgrounds; first-generation college students; those experiencing homelessness; those in or formerly in foster care; LGBTQ+ students; undocumented children and families; student veterans and military-connected children and students; student parents; and international students.

A female teacher with young students sitting at a table wearing masks

The resources on this page share early childhood education program, school, and campus strategies to meet young children’s and students’ social, emotional, mental health, developmental, academic, financial and other needs. The resources include a specific focus on students furthest from opportunity and from historically underserved communities and on helping to ensure that resources provided by early childhood programs, schools and campuses will be able to connect with and meet the needs of those disconnected from learning. Early childhood providers, teachers, faculty, staff, early childhood programs, schools, districts, institutions of higher education, other places of educational instruction and States may use these lessons learned, best practices and Federal resources to guide their strategies for meeting a diverse array of young children’s, students’, and families’ needs during and after the reopening process.

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.

Provide Feedback

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.

Image of a teacher and girl wearing face masks talking to each other through sign language in class

Boston Public Schools, Collective Bargaining Agreement on Use of Masks with Clear Panels

For students who need to see their educators’ mouths for proper communication and instruction, regular face masks can create a significant obstacle to learning. Boston Public Schools are implementing an innovative solution to this problem by utilizing masks with a clear panel (while still properly covering the mouth and nose and sealing under the chin). Under the Boston Public Schools’ Collective Bargaining Agreement, staff in Boston Public Schools are provided masks with clear panels for speech therapy sessions, working with students who are deaf or hard of hearing, other special education services, reading instruction, English learner services, world language classes and any other situations where deemed appropriate by an administrator. These masks with clear panels offer a safe and effective alternative to regular masks, unlike clear face shields, which are not effective at preventing respiratory transmission of COVID-19 (without the use of a mask).

Cajon Valley Schools,
Personalized Learning Plans

Hear from Karen Minshew on how Cajon Valley Schools developed personalized learning plans for students & teachers using specialized teams that would go into communities to learn about the situation on the ground and how investments in the communities could improve teacher performance and student outcomes.

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.

Provide Feedback

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.