(Re)OpeningUpdated July 31, 2023, 12:20 PM
These resources support the complex planning and preparation necessary as states consider re-opening schools, child care centers, and increasing in-home services following the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
See also: Considerations for Increasing In-Person Activities and Making Infrastructure Adjustments for Part C During COVID-19, Recommendations for Re-Opening Face-to-Face Sessions for Inclusionary Preschools and Early Care Centers
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Department of Education
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has deeply impacted early childhood programs, children and families, and their communities. This resource, jointly created by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), the Office of Head Start (OHS), and the OHS TA National Centers may be helpful when seeking guidance and resources to help leaders, services providers, teachers, support staff, children, and families during this re-opening and continuity of services.
U.S. Department of Education (ED) COVID-19 Handbook
These volumes offer initial strategies for providing equitable and adequate educational opportunities that address the impact of COVID-19 on students, educators, and staff, focusing on evidence-based strategies to:
- Meet students' social, emotional, mental and physical health, and academic needs.
- Address the impact of COVID-19 on students' opportunity to learn.
- Support educator and staff well-being and stability.
These two volumes are:
- Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools
- Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs
State Guidance and Plans
Review of State School Reopening Plans and Implications and Suggestions for State Funded Pre-K Programs
This National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) paper provides a scan of 51 state education reopening plans and the degree to which pre-K guidance is included and how states can revise their plans to more intentionally include pre-K. Some of the paper's key takeaways include priority being given to younger grades and include implementation of health and safety protocols and technology use expectations being specified along with activities and materials that do not require devices for pre-K programs with remote learning.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans do not believe it is safe for K-12 students to return to school, according to a new nationwide survey led by researchers from Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Northeastern, Harvard and Northwestern universities.
Only 31 percent of participants think returning to school is very safe or somewhat safe.
The survey, published by The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public's Policy Preferences Across States, indicates that women, people with lower incomes, and non-whites are less likely to consider sending their children back to school this fall.
This state guidance for increasing home visits and in-person services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic covers health and safety precautions for staff to return to offices, family homes and other natural environment settings.
This guidance is intended to support home-based health and human services providers by laying out safe practices for conducting in-person services in a client's home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This document from the Connecticut Department of Education is provided for local educational agencies (LEAs) as they begin planning for the fall. Addendum 2 on page 51 includes COVID-19 Guidance and Considerations for Preschool Located in Public Schools dated July 27, 2020.
This guide from the Ohio Department of Education identifies essential questions to consider while developing a reopening plan. Developed with the help of early childhood teachers, administrators and regional technical assistance providers, the guide contains general information relevant to the reopening of all early learning programs. Topics include health and safety, reopening discussion questions for local decision-making, and content-specific information related to Preschool Special Education, Head Start, and Early Childhood Education Grants. They also provide a Restart Readiness Assessment Resource.
Social-Emotional Resources from NCPMI
This document from NCPMI is designed to guide the Program Leadership Team around considerations for supporting children, families, and staff as they return to the program. The guidance includes Pyramid Model practices you know and encourages you to think about those strategies from a trauma-informed perspective. While the leadership team may not know who among children, families, and staff have or are experiencing trauma, a trauma-informed approach guides programs in providing a safe and nurturing environment where children, families, and staff can build resilience, feel safe, and recover.
This colorful greeting board uses photographs of children to demonstrate ways to greet each other while maintaining social distancing. The examples are in English and Spanish, and include are air hug, elbow bump, and thumbs up.
Re-establishing relationships after the extended break from COVID-19 may require additional strategies for practitioners who work with infants and toddlers. This tip sheet challenges practitioners to think about ways to help children reconnect and transition back to the classroom, and support children's social and emotional development after being away from the program.
This one-page tip sheet helps preschool practitioners intentionally plan and think about how to support children's use of social and emotional skills. These skills are important to re-teach or remind children after being away from the classroom. Focus areas include: schedules and routines, supportive conversations, expectations and rules, positive descriptive feedback, and emotional support.
Guidance from National Organizations
The CDC reminds communities of the principles to keep in mind as schools reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to maintaining a safe environment as students, staff and administrators return to school, these resources also help schools prepare if someone gets sick.
- CDC Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention: This resource from the Centers for Disease Control outlines several core concepts for a phased prevention approach for K–12 schools.
These COVID-19 planning considerations by the AAP offer key principles for school re-entry policies and the continued adherence to federal and state guidelines on newborn screening.
- Guidance on Newborn Screening During COVID-19
- Guidance Related to Childcare During COVID-19
- Guidance for School Re-entry
- Return to In-person Education in Schools
Child Trends examines critical implications for families with young children with disabilities during the pandemic. Topics examined include the intersectionality of disability, race, and ethnicity, and how it plays out across the country; the specific impact of the pandemic on families; and issues for states to consider as early childhood education programs begin to reopen.
- Considerations for Building Post-COVID Early Care and Education Systems that Serve Children with Disabilities
- More Comprehensive State Guidance Can Support the Whole Child during COVID-19
CCSSO outlines decisions chief state school officers will need to make before students can re-enter school buildings, emphasizing physical safety, mental health and academic success.
- Restart & Recovery: Considerations for Teaching & Learning: Pre-K To 3rd Grade Recovery In School Year 2020-2021 identifies three areas particularly relevant to local districts in re-opening schools to young learners in the 2020-2021 school year: 1) Systems Conditions; 2) Well-Being and Connections; and 3) Early Learning and Academics.
- COVID-19 Response: Phase 2-Restart and Recover
ECLKC has assembled a page with guidance on opening and operating in-person services
These strategies for state directors of special education to consider as they continue to guide their state towards a successful start of the upcoming school year and offers clarification on the various types of service delivery models that have occurred and/or may continue to be part of discussions across the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Issue Brief #1: A Successful Launch of the 2020-2021 School Year for Students with Disabilities
- Issue Brief #2: Least Restrictive Environment in the Wake of COVID-19
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA)
The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network offers numerous school mental health-related virtual learning opportunities and other resources through its School Mental Health Initiative.