School Counseling and School Reentry During COVID-19
(Updated Feb. 16, 2021) Organizations including ASCA, National Association of School Psychologists, CASEL, AASA (School Superintendents Association) and others have released detailed recommendations regarding school reentry. Among the issues addressed are multidisciplinary teams, addressing social emotional learning and academic needs, school safety protocols and equity and access considerations.
According to the ASCA/NASP guide, School Reentry Considerations (PDF), among the key elements to consider are:
- Reviewing guidance from local, state and federal agencies (U.S. Department of Education COVID-19 Handbook Vol. 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools)
- Coordinating responses within and across schools and the community
- Clearly communicating reentry, short-term recovery and long-term recovery plans with parents, families and other relevant community stakeholders.
- Engaging in resource mapping to identify available resources and needs. This process should include an examination of existing school-based teams.
- Mapping common goals and streamlining efforts to avoid duplication.
- Making decisions around temporary reallocation of resources depending on need (e.g., repositioning school nurses if certain parts of the district report more cases of COVID-19).
- Providing scripts for teachers and other staff to read to students to ensure consistent communication from a trusted and familiar adult.
AASA’s Guidelines for Reopening Schools points to a number of factors that may be especially relevant for school counselors, including:
- Plan for multiple reopening scenarios and contingencies to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all Students and staff.
- Ensure students’ and families’ equitable access to technology required for virtual learning.
- Provide continuing support to students and adults to address their immediate and long-term physical, psychological, social and emotional needs.
- Ensure all schools are trauma-informed and trauma-skilled.
- Transform the teaching-learning-assessment process to ensure personalization, engagement and differentiation.
School Reentry Resources
ASCA/National Association of School Psychologists: School Reentry Considerations: Supporting Student Social and Emotional Learning and Mental and Behavioral Health Amidst COVID-19 (PDF)
School Reentry: The School Counselor’s Role (PDF): School counselors have specific training to help students successfully transition to a new school year, even a year as challenging as 2020. By focusing on direct student services, school counselors can help students develop skills that will help them navigate changing expectations and environments. By providing indirect student services including consultation and collaboration with families, teachers and other stakeholders, school counselors can partner with others to make this year the best that it can be, even with its many uncertainties.
School Counseling During COVID-19
For additional lessons broken out by grade level, see the following ASCA Toolkits:
BrainPOP provides movies with social/emotional learning components that students can watch and respond to.
CASEL has collected a number of resources to assist in addressing students’ social and emotional needs. Also download SEL Roadmap: Actions for a Successful Second Semester.
Centervention game-based behavior interventions help students practice social and emotional skills.
Inside SEL links to a number of social/emotional learning resources.
NEWSELA offers social/emotional learning lessons students can complete remotely.
Sanford Harmony at National University provides social and emotional learning tools for pre-K–6.
Second Step is offering free social and emotional learning activities for ages 5-13, a podcast for families and a mindfulness program.
Tech Tools and Distance Learning
Before using any technology tools to deliver services to students, consult with your district/school. Note: For details about HIPAA and FERPA relative to digital platforms for school counseling, click here.
- Education Week: The K–12 Educator's Guide to Safe and Effective Videoconferencing
- Flipgrid offers a platform for recording and sharing videos (free for educators)
- Loom allows you to capture your screen, voice and face and instantly share your video (free for educators).
- Microsoft Teams lets you collaborate while working remotely with your team (free access).
- My Blueprint offers a platform for students to create portfolios (free access)
- Nearpod provides a platform for live lessons.
- Padlet Backpack lets you provide access to students for lessons, plans and more (free 30-day trial).
- Seesaw is a remote learning platform, but the home-learning tips for families may be helpful for school counselors to share.
- Screencastify lets you record, edit, and share videos (free Google Chrome add-on).
- Southern Regional Education Board offers two relevant webinars for school counselors, including School Counseling from a Distance and Follow Up: School Counseling from a Distance
- Stanford Online High School offers guidance for how to create an online classroom.
- Talking Points lets you translate your messages for students and families in any language (free access)
- The Association for Career and Technical Education has compiled a list of resources for distance learning as well as free online courses.
- Weebly provides a free website builder.
- WebEx offers free access to connect with students and colleagues.
- Wevideo provides a platform for student-created videos (free to schools closed due to COVID-19).
- Zoom offers free resources for educators during school closures.
- Because kids are participating in more digital learning, offer a refresher on digital safety, cyberbullying, etc.
- School-Based Health Alliance COVID-19 Resources includes links to Listen & Learn Sessions, as well as a webinar series with the Weitzman Institute, “School-Based Health Centers in the Time of COVID-19
- School Counselors for MTSS has developed resources for responding to COVID-19 using an MTSS-ASCA Model aigned framework
- The World Federation of United Nations Associations has developed a global citizenship program for high school students that is aimed at supporting international cooperation.
- Everfi offers free online courses for K-12 students on financial education, STEM, career readiness, health and wellness, social-emotional learning, and more.
- Share My Lesson Coronavirus Student Guide: Explanations and News Updates
- The New York Times is offering writing prompts, interactive discussions, documentaries and contests (updated every weekday)
- The Confident School Counselor provides resources for self-guided learning, webinars and toolkits for a range of topics.
- The Special Olympics GenerationUnified.org has an abundance of video content and amazing stories to help keep you inspired and uplifted.
- Virtual School Day: More than 100 free live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are "Intro to Spanish for Kids," “Coolest Women in History,” “Java Programming Basics” and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales.”
- Virtual Summer Camps: Free half-day summer camps will be a week-long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography and more. These live, interactive classes will be taught by expert instructors vetted through Varsity Tutors' platform. 200 camps already scheduled for the summer.
- Older students may be interested in learning how to journal with Mayo Clinic’s Gratitude Challenge.
- Helping Children and Families Cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic is a resilience-enhancing activity book that helps children and families deal with the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The material is highly interactive and designed for adults to work on together with children.
- In terms of free resources for a variety of learning or enrichment needs, note that for younger students, free streaming is available from PlutoTV and Kanopy, the Metropolitan Opera offers free access to nightly streaming and Scholastic Learn at Home is offering 20 days of free access (up to three hours per day). Additionally, ASCA member Holly Altiero has developed a webpage of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings.
Across social media and in the ASCA SCENE, school counselors have shared a number of resources, creative lesson ideas, recommendations for digital learning tools and more. ASCA has curated some of those ideas here. For links to specific lessons shared by other school counselors, visit the Virtual School Counseling Lessons and Tools community and library on ASCA SCENE. Please add your own lessons as well. (If you experience difficulty uploading your file, email Angie Hickman.)