Part II: Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health

Framework title updated 8/24/20
Framework content updated 2/12/20
County Risk Levels last updated 2/26/21
County Risk Levels next update 3/12/21

Framework for Reopening Schools and Returning to In-Person Instruction
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Prior to re-entry:

  1. Consult/communicate with mental health staff, counselors, social workers, and educators.
  2. Communicate plans, schedules, and updates to staff, families, and community – there’s no such thing as too much communication when it comes to helping people feel safe. Consider a direct contact for each family.
  3. Provide (virtual) forums in which families and students can ask questions or share concerns and ideas.
  4. Reach out to higher needs students and families throughout the remote learning period and have social workers or counselors develop individualized support plans as needed.
  5. Plan for school-wide trauma informed practices. The Maine School Safety Center can provide free training and resources.
  6. Consider and mitigate impacts of adjusting to new cultures, new languages, and new community resources and support for students and families who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) families of color or who have an immigrant/refugee status.

Structuring re-entry to support the unique needs of your school community:

  1. Consult with mental health staff, counselors, social workers, educators.
  2. Consider differentiated approaches based on age, grade, and developmental levels; consider looping models for flexibility.
  3. Provide frequent check-ins with staff; encourage mindfulness and use of employee assistance plans for well-being.

Ongoing:

  1. Encourage vigilance with respect to student and staff mental health; engage staff in professional development to increase awareness of the signs of anxiety and depression.
  2. Utilize a multi-tiered system of support for social/emotional needs.
  3. Make widely available a list of resources to support children and/or adults experiencing distress. Normalize conversations around mental health to dispel stigma around asking for help. Cultural brokers may be necessary to navigate sensitive conversations for some students and their family members.