• Begin with an underlying foundation of cultural competence, justice, and equity. Invite conversations with families to understand more about their heritage, their experiences, and their concerns. Review school policies, curricula, and protocol to reaffirm a just and equitable basis for learning. Advocate for re-distribution of resources and find partnerships with community organizations to support equity.
• Increase equitable access to education and learning. Find resources to assure that students have access to remote learning through laptops or tablets, WiFi hot spots, and implementing Universal Design for Learning so that parents and families are reassured that students aren’t falling behind simply because they can’t join their teachers and peers online.
• Build relationships with students. Make sure that each student has at least one adult to turn to in times of crisis. You can survey educators and/or students by asking them to identify their buddy or you can work to assign staff members (including custodians, paraprofessionals, and other support staff) to students who may need a mentor at school.
• Create a culture of joy. Celebrate joyful moments. In the midst of tragedy, it is the bright spots that keep us going, so search out the playful, happy, and silly things that put smiles on faces. Make time for fun in each and every day. Bring the whole school together for dance parties, games, schoolwide celebrations, and more.
• Give youth factual, developmentally appropriate information when questioned. Because uncertainty has been one of the biggest culprits of people’s anxiety during COVID-19, sharing information can alleviate fear. With COVID-19, the facts seem to change from dayto-day, so stick to guidelines released by trusted sources like the CDC or the World Health Organization.
• Empower students to take care of themselves and others. To give students a stronger sense of control, help them understand what steps they can take to keep themselves safe, including frequent handwashing, caution when sharing food or drink, and finding new greetings like elbow bumps instead of handshakes or hugs.
Although it’s important to recognize the very real sense of uncertainty and fear that everyone has felt over the preceding months, it’s also imperative to start the school year out with the clear message that your school community is a team and that you will all work together to come back even stronger than you were before.
Source for this post: https://mhttcnetwork.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/B2S%20Toolkit%20-%20Print%20Ready3.pdf