How to Support the Mental and Physical Health of Students While Schools Are Closed

During the past weeks, increasing numbers of individual schools, school districts and even entire states have made difficult decisions to close schools in the wake of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). As these protective measures have been implemented—often without a definitive end date—, schools now face the challenge of supporting their students’ health and academic growth remotely.

While many teachers may be able to turn to virtual learning through different technological means, schools and families also grapple with the challenges of supporting the physical and mental health needs of students, particularly for the large populations of students from low-income or under-resourced families who rely heavily on school nutrition programs and/or school behavioral health services.

Among the resources included below, find some of the latest guiding documents and resources for school leaders and families to help ensure continued access for students to adequate nutrition, mental health supports, opportunities for physical activity and preserving the environmental safety of homes and schools.

New Resources

Ensuring Access to the Child Nutrition Programs in the Event of School Closures

This 2-pager document highlights some of the key steps that school and community partners can take to leverage federal resources and ensure students and families continue to have access to nutritious meals during school closures.

Additional guidance for school administrators is included here.

Planning for Virtual/Distance School Counseling During an Emergency Shutdown

In order to continue to support the mental and behavioral health needs of students, it may be necessary for many schools to implement or expand virtual counseling services. The American School Counselor Association has provided this document to assist with guidance and key considerations for providing services to students during school closures.

Healthy Activities to Do at Home

Whether children are currently affected by school closures or not, this resource outlines many activities and ideas for fostering healthy behaviors with children, particularly for incorporating physical activity and healthy nutrition habits at home.

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

Ensuring that school environments are cleaned and disinfected regularly is one of the best practice recommendations from the CDC for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Find key guidance for the types of cleaning solutions, equipment, etc. that should be used for cleaning schools.

Guidance for individual households can also be found here.

Teachers Share Resources for Teaching Online During Coronavirus School Closures

As many teachers transition to online learning for many student populations across the country, many teachers grapple with how to create an engaging environment for learning, especially when many students may lack resources or access to connect virtually. Find ideas and resources inspired by and for teachers.

Grant Alerts

Underserved Student Education Improvement | Brady Education Foundation

Supporting projects focused on evaluating programs that help close opportunity and achievement gaps associated with race and family income. Learn more.

Deadline: April 20, 2020

SEL in Action Awards | Education First and NoVo Foundation

Supporting the implementation of SEL initiatives in schools, either at the educator level (teachers, counselors, administrators, etc.) or at the district level. Learn more.

Deadline: April 10, 2020

Project AWARE State Education Agency Grants | SAMHSA

Expands capacity of State Educational Agencies to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth, train school personnel and connect youth to services. Learn more.

Deadline: April 20, 2020

*The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools does not administer these funding opportunities. Please refer to each organization for further direction and details.

Job Opportunities

School Psychologist | DC Public Schools (Washington, DC)

Provide full range of psychological services to children grades pre-K through 12, including screening and assessment, designing remedial programs, counseling, etc. Learn more.

Social Worker—Elementary Age Children | St. Nicks Alliance (Brooklyn, NY)

Support children who are struggling behaviorally and academically; manage caseload of children to provide counseling and small group interventions. Learn more.

Physical Education Teacher | Innovative Arts Academy Charter School (Lehigh Valley, PA)

Help students learn sports and fitness essentials through creative and innovative teaching methods. Learn more.

Student Wellness and Success Coordinator | Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County (Valley View, OH)

Promote a positive school climate, support instructional staff and students through services related to student social/behavioral/emotional needs. Learn more.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

March 31, 2020 3:00 PM ET

Webinar: The Revised School Mental Health Kit

Hosted by MHTTC Network

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