Providing Supports to Students, Young Children, and Families

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented crisis with acute consequences for students, young children, families and caregivers, faculty, staff, and whole school and campus communities. Students and young children may be experiencing social isolation, loss of a loved one or other trauma, or anxiety in relation to the pandemic. The families and caregivers of students and young children 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 the Institute of Education Sciences

(Source: https://ies.ed.gov/director/remarks/12-9-2020.asp)

The pandemic has exacerbated barriers to opportunity often already a reality for students and young children 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 students and children; student parents; and international students.

Landmark 2: Build School Communities, and Supporting Student’s Social, Emotional, and Mental Health on the U.S. Department of Education’s Return to School Roadmap provides many resources for building school communities and supporting student social, emotional, and mental health, along with examples from the field.

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The resources on this page share school, early childhood education program, and campus strategies to meet students’ and young children’s 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 schools, early childhood programs, and campuses will be able to connect with and meet the needs of those disconnected from learning. 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 guide their strategies for meeting a diverse array of students’, young children’s, and families’ needs during and after the reopening process.

Image of a woman wearing a mask painting on a building wall

How to Engage the Arts to Build COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares field guides, resources, and examples that public health professionals, health communicators, teachers, and community organizations can use in their work to increase COVID-19 vaccination confidence and demand through the arts.

Submit Your Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Have a lessons learned or best practice that focuses on helping to ensure that supports are provided to students 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.

Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs document cover

Graphic of multi-ethnic students wearing masks. The top-left photo is of a child in a wheelchair wearing a mask at a desk. The top-right photo is of a teen student wearing a mask raising his hand. The top-middle photo is a teen student wearing a mask writing on paper at a desk. The bottom-middle photo is of a teacher wearing a mask reading to elementary grade students wearing masks. The bottom photo is a group of elementary grade students wearing masks in a school hallway.

U.S. Department of Education: Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs

This resource 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, by providing focused information and resources to enhance the promotion of mental health and social and emotional well-being among 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. The appendix provides additional useful information, including (1) numerous examples corresponding to the recommendations highlighting implementation efforts throughout the country; (2) a list of Federal resource centers; (3) a list of resources to assist educators (teachers, providers, and administrators) in implementing the recommendations; and (4) guidance on existing programs that can support social, emotional, and mental health services for students.

Submit Your Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Have a lessons learned or best practice for operating PreK-12 schools and school districts safely 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.