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Back to School During COVID-19

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Going back to school during a pandemic can be challenging for families and schools. These resources are designed to address mental health and resiliency in school settings.

Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Resources

SAMHSA funds the MHTTC Network, which is a collaborative network that supports resource development and dissemination, training and technical assistance, and workforce development for the mental health field.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Resources

Administered by SAMHSA and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS), the NCTSN was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events.

  • Helping Children with Traumatic Separation or Traumatic Grief Related to Covid-19 offers information on how to talk with children about traumatic separation or traumatic grief as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. This tip sheet is for caregivers or other adults supporting children with traumatic separation or traumatic grief related to COVID-19. 
  • The Power of Parenting During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Addressing Fears ad Feelings from Prior Losses provides caregivers guidance about how to address fears and feelings of prior losses that are coming up during COVID-19. This fact sheet offers information on loss and trauma reminders, coping with separation, and the mind body connection.
  • The Power of Parenting During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Mourning the Death of a Loved One provides caregivers guidance on mourning a death of a loved one due to COVID-19. This fact sheet offers information on saying goodbye when you couldn't be there, understanding developmental differences in behaviors associated with grief, and seeking alternative support if needed.
  • Supporting Children During Coronavirus (Covid19) offers ways to support children and talk to them about COVID-19. This fact sheet describes how to start a conversation with children about COVID-19, correct inaccurate information, encourage children to ask questions and how to answer them, help children self-regulate, and outlines common reactions, how to stay connected, practice self-care, and what to do if you need extra help.
  • Trauma-Informed School Strategies During Covid-19 provides trauma-informed school strategies in response to COVID-19. This fact sheet offers information on the physical and emotional well-being of staff, creating a trauma-informed learning environment, identifying and assessing traumatic stress, addressing and treating traumatic stress, trauma education and awareness, partnerships with students and families, cultural responsiveness, emergency management and crisis response, and school discipline policies and practices.

National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health (NTTAC) Resources

The National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health (NTTAC) is a grant-funded initiative from SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).

  • Supporting Students, Educators, and Parents as Schools Reopen (May 2021). This recorded panel presentation discusses practical and research-based strategies that educators, school leaders, and school staff can use in the classroom, at the school level, and with the broader school community. Participants learned concrete practices to welcome students back into an in-person learning environment and to reestablish a sense of safety, safety, stability, and connection within schools.
  • Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month: Reconnect, Reflect, and Renew Facebook Live with Angee Stevens & Nizhonie Denetsosie (May 2021). Panel discussion on the impact of COVID-19 and the challenges faced in education settings and beyond. The panelists, a high school senior and school social worker, shared their unique experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Recorded and Upcoming Panel Presentations. To launch the 2021-2022 school year, watch this two part, two day forum for state and school systems leaders across the country. The two-part series is a structured dialogue between school mental health policy experts, state leaders, and district/local leaders that covers how to design, create and implement effective policies to support children, youth, and family mental health parity.

Suicide Prevention Resources

  • Suicide Prevention Resources for Teens (PDF | 860 KB). This information sheet, created by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), contains a list of websites with suicide prevention resources for teens—for those who may be at risk for suicide and those who have friends who may be at risk. These websites all have fact sheets, and some have videos, stories written by teens, and text and online chat options.
  • Preventing Suicide: The Role of High School Teachers.(PDF | 481 KB) This resource for high school teachers, created by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), includes information on recognizing and responding to suicide warning signs, suicide prevention resources, and other information to help prevent suicide among students.

Other Federal Resources

Supporting Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Maximizing In-Person Learning and Implementing Effective Practices for Students in Quarantine and Isolation | Department of Education

As the new school year begins, we must provide every student—from every community and background—the opportunity to safely learn in-person full-time.

Helping young children and parents transition back to school | CDC 

Learn what parents and teachers can do to help children make a successful transition to in-person learning and care.

Children and Mental Health: Is This Just a Stage? | The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Raising a child can be challenging. Even under the best circumstances, their behaviors and emotions can change frequently and rapidly.

Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools | CDC

This updated version of COVID-19 guidance for school administrators outlines strategies for K-12 schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe operations.

Return to School Roadmap | Department of Education

America’s public schools have been steadily reopening for in-person learning, and students are returning to classrooms.

National Academy of Sciences Resources

Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. As children and youth across the U.S. are returning to school, the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education has provided resources that support students, their families, educators, and administrators as the new year starts.

Last Updated

Last Updated: 03/08/2023