Research and practice show that human beings learn best when they are in safe and supportive environments and when students’ learning is supported by reliable and trusting relationships at school. Yet, the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting nationwide closure of school buildings have thrown educators, students, and families alike off balance, removing them from familiar routines and challenging them to adapt to new stressors and circumstances.

As part of WestEd’s Committed. Together: Moving Through COVID-19 video series, Natalie Walrond, Director of the National Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety, reflects on what education leaders and teachers should consider as they look ahead to school buildings reopening — ideally in the fall — and begin planning how to improve and safeguard students’ social, emotional, and mental well-being from day one.

Walrond shared the four following recommendations for schools and districts:

  • Provide safe and supportive environments for all students
  • Re-establish familiar positive school routines and norms
  • Reconnect students with peers and adults who care about them
  • Maintain high expectations for what students are able to achieve

Walrond identifies the critical role of SEL in ensuring that students from different populations or backgrounds are well served by their education experiences and are engaged with their learning.

Watch the full video below.

Our COVID-19 Crisis Response Video Series spotlights important issues to which policymakers, practitioners, or leaders should pay special attention as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

Watch the first video in the series and stay tuned for insights about juvenile justice, equity, early childhood, and more.

Access free resources related to COVID-19.