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ASCA Toolkit: Virtual School Counseling Guidelines

Planning for Virtual/Distance School Counseling During an Emergency Shutdown

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has forced districts to review and in some cases implement emergency shutdown plans. Plans should outline comprehensive school counseling services that will be provided and address equity and access issues such as ensuring students have access to computers and internet. Download the PDF.

Webinars on Demand:  Position Statement: The School Counselor and Virtual School Counseling

School counselors working in a virtual setting provide a school counseling program through the use of technology and distance counseling with the same standards and adherence to ethics as school counselors working in traditional school settings.  Read the full position statement

"School Counseling Principles: Ethics and Law" – Chapter 3, Cyberspace
This chapter of the "Ethics and Law" publication helps you:
• Discuss the influence technology has on the school counseling profession
• Identify the different aspects of the ASCA National Model related to the use of technology in school counseling
• Understand safety precautions students, school counselors and parents/guardians can take while interacting on social media websites
• Reflect on the consequences of unprofessional behavior on websites
Download the chapter for free.

Magazine Article: It’s a Virtual World 
School counseling can be delivered effectively in a virtual environment; however, there are legal and ethical issues to consider that don’t typically exist in a brick-and-mortar school. Read the article.

ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors: Virtual Section
A.15. Virtual/Distance School Counseling 
School counselors: 
a. Adhere to the same ethical guidelines in a virtual/distance setting as school counselors in face-to-face settings. 
b. Recognize and acknowledge the challenges and limitations of virtual/distance school counseling. 
c. Implement procedures for students to follow in both emergen- cy and nonemergency situations when the school counselor is not available. 
d. Recognize and mitigate the limitation of virtual/distance school counseling confidentiality, which may include unintended viewers or recipients. 
e. Inform both the student and parent/guardian of the benefits and limitations of virtual/distance counseling.
f. Educate students on how to participate in the electronic school counseling relationship to minimize and prevent potential mis- understandings that could occur due to lack of verbal cues and inability to read body language or other visual cues that provide contextual meaning to the school counseling process and school counseling relationship.