Landmark 2: Build School Communities and Support Students’ Social, Emotional, and Mental Health

ED COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2

The Department of Education released guidance and resources for how schools can address the trauma induced by the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased isolation, uncertainty, food insecurity, and loss. This resource summarizes research on how mental health shapes academic learning and provides strategies for establishing multi-tiered systems of support to support social, emotional, and mental health.

Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health

In October 2021, the Department of Education released this resource to enhance the promotion of mental health and the social and emotional well-being among children and students in general and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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. It also unpacks recommendations for these challenges. Throughout the report, the Department of Education provides links to federal technical assistance centers focused on SEL and SEL resources.

Three Highest Priority Investments to Make in SEL with American Rescue Plan Dollars

Given the unprecedented investment of federal stimulus funds to schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CASEL provides guidance on how these funds can be used to bolster systemic implementation of SEL: 1) promote SEL for students, 2) support adult SEL competencies and capacity-building, and 3) align SEL efforts across schools, families, and communities.

CASEL CARES Initiative: Connecting the SEL Community

CASEL CARES is an initiative that addresses how SEL (social emotional learning) can be most helpful in response to current circumstances. CASEL shares four steps for educators, families, and caregivers to support SEL during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their website also provides free SEL resources related to topics including self-care strategies, supporting virtual teams, and talking to students about COVID-19. CASEL also hosts free webinars held every Friday featuring experts on a variety of key topics.