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Volume 2: ED COVID-19 Handbook - Roadmap to Reopening and Meeting All Students' Needs
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has exacerbated existing inequities and inadequacies across a range of social structures, including our nation’s education system. The pandemic has also had a more damaging impact on communities and people of color, including many who already faced health challenges. Congress has provided significant federal funding, including most recently through the historic American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), to support the safe reopening of schools. However, this is the first of many steps ahead. For most schools, returning to the status quo will not address the full impact of COVID-19 on students’ social, emotional, physical, mental health, and academic needs or the impact on educator and staff well-being. Approaches to school reopening must be designed in ways that meet the needs of students, educators, and staff. President Joe Biden has called on us all to consider how we can “build back better.” Just as we continue to look to the evolving science as we work to reopen schools safely, so too should we turn to research and evidence, as well as the voices of students, educators, staff, and their families, to inform efforts to address the social, emotional, mental health and academic impact of COVID-19.