On August 2, the U.S. Department of Education released the “Return to School Roadmap” to support students, educators, schools, and communities as they return to safe and healthy in-person learning this fall and emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. The Roadmap features three “landmark” priorities that schools, school districts, and communities are encouraged to focus on to ensure all students are primed for success: (1) prioritizing the health and safety of students, educators, and staff; (2) building school communities and supporting students’ social, emotional, and mental health; and (3) accelerating academic achievement. As part of the Roadmap, the agency will share resources for practitioners and parents on each priority and highlight schools and districts using innovative practices to help address the priorities. It will also share how American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding and other federal relief aid may be used to tackle the priorities, as well as outline key investments from President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda needed to deal with inequities exacerbated by the pandemic, particularly for students in underserved communities.
Among the current resources are:
· A fact sheet for schools, families, and communities, detailing the three priorities and describing how schools and districts are addressing each in effective ways.
· A guide for education systems explaining what schools can do to protect the health and safety of students, including increasing access to COVID-19 vaccinations and taking steps to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently updated K-12 school guidance recommending universal indoor masking for all students, educators, staff, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status (see President Biden’s statement and Secretary Cardona’s statement).
· A checklist that parents may use to prepare themselves and their children for the safe return to in-person learning this fall, leading with information about vaccinating eligible students and using masks if students are not yet vaccinated.