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.

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

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.

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.

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 is 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).

Johnny Key, Secretary of Education, Arkansas

Learn about Secretary Key’s vision and priorities to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education that meets their needs.

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.