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Ensuring the Resilience and the Well-Being of School Personnel, Students, and Families During and After the Pandemic

Ensuring the Resilience and the Well-Being of School Personnel,
Students, and Families During and After the Pandemic

Across the United States, school communities and the education agencies that support them, along with their community partners, have risen to the occasions and responded to the challenges of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Educators and faculty have transitioned to distance education, school nutrition staff have prepared and ensured continued food services, bus drivers have delivered meals and more to students and families, school resource officers have conducted wellness checks, administrators have stepped in to fill capacity gaps, and so much more. Most importantly, they have worked together to help ensure continued engagement of their school community, all aimed at health, safety, and resilience. The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS) and its REMS TA Center sincerely thank you for your continued service to your communities during this challenging time.

RecoveryEqually as important, we encourage you to consider the trauma and stress caused by the pandemic, as well as its long-lasting effects on your whole school community, including students, staff, families, and partners. Health and social, emotional, and psychological well-being is a core component before, during, and after possible emergencies, including prevention, response, continuity of operations, and recovery planning. School safety teams and leaders can address trauma and stress in their school emergency operations plans (EOPs), implementation of Psychological First Aid (PFA), and provision of trauma-informed care to educators, school personnel, students, and the whole school community. To support education agencies in addressing this topic and building their resilience and well-being programs, the REMS TA Center offers online trainings and resources on this critical topic. Find our free products, as well as those from Federal partners, below to supplement your school safety leadership efforts.

Resilience Quick Links for School Personnel, Families, and Students: Ensuring the Well-Being of the Whole School Community During School at Home
This Technical Assistance (TA) Snapshot gives school safety teams and school personnel, families, and students key practical steps and quick links to learning opportunities and resources on resilience and well-being in the context of a pandemic and other emergency events. School personnel can use it to support themselves, their colleagues, their students, and their families; parents can use it to support themselves and their children; and students, with their families, can use it to support themselves and their peers. Download this new TA Snapshot.

TA Snapshots
TA Snapshot The REMS TA Center is pleased to introduce a new type of publication: TA Snapshots. We continually respond to direct requests from school administrators and staff, district administrators, state education agency and regional education agency personnel, educators, parents, students, school safety leaders, and community partners on a variety of topics within school safety, security, emergency management, and preparedness. Such inquiries have resulted in the creation of TA responses and snapshots. Find a list of our more popular TA Snapshots on our Publications & Guidance Documents Web page.

Disaster Distress Helpline
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration maintains a free national hotline for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to an emergency event, such as COVID-19. The Disaster Distress Helpline provides free counseling and support 24/7 before, during, and after an emergency and can be contacted in the following ways: call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

Disaster Distress Helpline

Implementing PFA
PFA is an evidence-informed intervention model designed to reduce the initial distress and trauma caused by emergencies as well as help people cope and return to their “normal” activities. Read more about Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S) and Psychological First Aid (PFA) in our at-a-glance versions of the Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans and Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education. Use the online training opportunities and resources below to learn more about PFA and how can you implement the model to support the whole school community.

Providing Trauma-Informed Care
Living through traumatic events like the COVID-19 pandemic changes the ways of the “self” and how we experience the world around us. Teachers are critical to recognizing the signs of traumatic stress and helping students and their families regain a sense of normalcy, which can sometimes also facilitate personal “growth” across the school community. Schools can use a trauma-informed approach in promoting resilience, creating stability, and reinforcing routines during school at home that promote student success and offer positive engagement opportunities. Use the online training opportunities and resources below to learn more about trauma-informed care and leading a trauma-informed school.

Enhancing School EOPs
EOPs help keep schools safe every day and are critical if an emergency occurs. Actual emergencies often provide new information that can be used to inform EOPs. Pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks highlight the need to continually review and update your Public Health Annex with community partners (e.g., community planning teams, public health officials). While we are currently in the response and continuity of operations phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, education agencies are also encouraged to review and potentially update their Recovery Annexes with their community planning teams. Use the online training opportunities and resources below to learn more about the Public Health and Recovery Annexes.

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