President Biden unveiled a $1.5 trillion wish list for the federal budget with over $102 billion in aid for the education department. While specifics are still up in the air, here’s a breakdown of the proposal that would invest into essential resources for children and young people.

President Joe Biden is proposing major spending increases for the U.S. Department of Education in the next fiscal year—including major boosts for disadvantaged students, special education, and wraparound services at community schools—and said the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on students and educators has made additional funding more urgent.

An overview of the president’s fiscal 2022 spending proposal that the Biden administration released Friday includes $102.8 billion in discretionary aid for the Education Department. That’s an increase of nearly $30 billion, or approximately 41 percent, from the agency’s current discretionary budget of about $73 billion that lawmakers approved late last year.

Congress often ignores presidents’ annual spending requests, including high-profile proposals and major increases or decreases in spending on established programs. However, Biden might find a somewhat friendlier audience for his ideas in this Congress, which Democrats control, than other presidents.

Biden wants the following notable increases at the Education Department and elsewhere…

Read this full article in EdWeek: Biden Pitches 41 Percent Spending Increase for Education Next Year on Top of COVID-19 Aid

From contact tracing to diagnosing signs of anxiety in students, school nurses have taken on much more during the pandemic. Now, lawmakers in states like Texas and North Carolina are proposing legislation that requires more districts to employ full-time nurses in schools. This article details school nurses’ integral role in fighting COVID-19 and keeping our school communities safe.

Last September, as Covid-19 vaccine candidates were rapidly advancing, Katherine Park and six of her fellow school nurses in St. Louis County, Mo., envisioned school-based vaccination sites as an extension of the district’s pandemic response plan, which they had been working on for months. They reached out to the local health department, letting it know the district had buildings for use and more than 30 school nurses who could jump in on administering shots.

“Honestly, our health department here was kind of surprised that we even reached out to them,” said Park, who is also the interim director of health services at Parkway Schools, a public school district in western St. Louis County. “It’s almost like they had never really considered they could utilize us.”

Park said that many people don’t realize how much school nurses do to manage student health care on a daily basis, from administering insulin injections to giving seasonal flu vaccinations.

Read this full article in STAT: ‘A wild year’: School nurses greatly expand role with Covid-19 vaccinations, contact tracing

While virtual learning has kept our school communities safe amid the coronavirus crisis, a new study points to the impact that remote instruction takes on students’ and their families’ mental health.

Virtual instruction may pose more risks to the mental health and wellness of children and parents than in-person learning, according to a study published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More support may be needed to deal with the effects of the pandemic.

Parents whose children received virtual instruction or a combination of virtual and in-person instruction were more likely to report increased risk on 11 of 17 indicators of child and parental well-being, according to the new CDC study. The agency’s researchers looked at survey responses from October and November 2020 from 1,290 parents with children ages 5 to 12 years old.

Nearly 25% of parents whose children received virtual instruction or combined instruction reported worsened mental or emotional health in their children, compared to 16% of parents whose children received in-person instruction.

Read this full article in CBS News: CDC Study: Virtual School Can Be Damaging To Children’s Mental Health

Parents are scared not just of the bullying in school but also of the harassment other adults could direct at their families on the way to school.

A New York City principal said the families of many of her Asian American students have been fearful as heightened levels of anti-Asian sentiment continue alongside the coronavirus pandemic and with violence toward Asian Americans gaining more national attention.

Racist incidents and attacks on members of the Asian community in public have, in part, persuaded some families not to send their children back to in-person schooling, administrators say.

The New York administrator, whose school has a Title I distinction — meaning it has a significant percentage of low-income students — said students’ “fear is real even if they are two blocks away from school.

Read this full article in NBC News: Amid attacks, school principals concerned over Asian Americans’ return to class

For community resources, information, and to report anti-Asian incidents in English and 11 Asian languages, visit Stop AAPI Hate.

Here are some links to resources for families and educators to discuss this issue with students from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP):

The White House recently announced more details around the plan to get students back in classrooms- and school testing programs are a main priority. Here’s what you should know about the “initial investment” meant to help K-8 schools reopen by the end of April.

The White House announced Thursday the administration will host a summit on safely reopening schools and direct $650 million in funding to schools to expand testing in underserved communities.
During his prime time speech Thursday, President Joe Biden noted his announcement last week to vaccinate teachers and school officials by the end of March will help the majority of K-8 schools reopen within his first 100 days in office, or by the end of April.

“This is going to be the number one priority of my new Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona,” Biden said.
The Department of Education will host a national Safe School Reopening Summit this month to provide assistance in implementing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s strategies for in-person instruction, according to a senior White House official.

Read this full article in USA Today: Joe Biden administration will devote $650 million to help schools expand testing

The vaccine rollout has picked up speed and states across the country are easing COVID-19 restrictions, but when will schools return to in-person learning? Some districts plan to head back to classrooms as early as this Spring, while others predict a sense of normal in the Fall.

The current rate of in-school instruction is continuing to rise as most educators predict their schools will be fully in-person next fall, a new EdWeek Research Center survey shows.

Most of the teachers who took the survey reported that, compared with prior to the pandemic, they are spending more time on review and on addressing basic, essential academic standards; district leaders said that the frequency of COVID-19 testing in schools is inching up; and teachers, principals, and district leaders predict that one surprisingly specific pandemic-era change—enhanced cleaning and ventilation protocols—may be here to stay.

The nationally representative, online questionnaire was administered February 24-26 to 1,196 educators, including 629 teachers, 265 principals, and 302 district leaders. It’s the latest in a series of monthly surveys the EdWeek Research Center has been conducting on the pandemic’s impact on schools and other timely topics.

Read this full article in EdWeek: Most Principals, District Leaders Predict Their Schools Will Be Fully In-Person This Fall

The pandemic has replaced the steady routine of daily life with uncertainty. One therapist in New York City explores the impact that the pandemic has on students’ development, education, and mental health, while sharing advice for parents during this challenging time.

As a psychoanalyst and parent guidance expert working in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic with parents of children and adolescents, and often with the children themselves, it has broken my heart to see the pain and emotional suffering that families are currently experiencing.

Not only am I busier than I have ever been in my long career as a clinician, but the intensity and degree of my patients’ stress has increased exponentially.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 18- to 24-year-olds have reported high levels of anxiety and depression, and nearly a quarter have considered suicide. I’ve also seen this rise in despair among younger children, adolescents and their families in my own clinical practice. COVID-19 has opened a Pandora’s box of emotional, behavioral and mental health issues that will be difficult to put back in the box once the pandemic is under control.

Read this full article in HuffPost: I’m A Therapist Working With Children And Families. Here’s How COVID-19 Is Affecting Them

Texas schools already challenged by the pandemic are now experiencing a historically brutal winter. Lack of power and communication, broken water pipes, mold concerns, and other weather-related damage put more obstacles in place for students and families that rely on schools for shelter and food.

As Texas faced record-low temperatures this February and snow and ice made roads impassable, the state’s electric grid operator lost control of the power supply, leaving millions without access to electricity. As the blackouts extended from hours to days, top state lawmakers called for investigations into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and Texans demanded accountability for the disaster.
The Texas Tribune has compiled a list of resources for Texans who are seeking help, or places to get warm. To get updates sent straight to your phone, text “hello” to 512-967-6919 or visit this page to sign up.

When icy temperatures knocked out Neshia Inmon’s electricity for more than two days, she sent her 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son to a family member’s house while she stayed home.

Inmon, who lives in East Texas, encouraged her children, learning through the Texas Virtual School Network this year, to keep up with their schoolwork when cell service or internet access permitted. Throughout the chaos and instability of the past year, Inmon has done as much as possible to prioritize her children’s education.

She is calm when discussing the details of all the unexpected challenges the pandemic has thrown at her: Over the last year, she was fired from one retail job, had to quit another to help her kids with online school, received eviction notices almost every month, and isn’t sure whether her appeal for unemployment benefits will go through. As she waits for the weather to clear up, she is rationing a limited supply of food and making sure her children get to eat.

“I can’t even imagine about the people who are not as strong who got kids. That’s when it hurts the most: When you have somebody who you have to take care of,” she said.

The winter storm delivered another blow for parents, teachers and students already struggling to get through this academic year, as COVID-19 has destabilized the lives of many Texans. Already students were failing multiple classes learning virtually, feeling increasingly anxious and depressed, and worrying about their loved ones. Now, some families still don’t have power or water and some schools, given the damage to facilities, are unsure when they are going to be able to take students back in person.

Read this full article in The Texas Tribune: Texas students slammed again as storm scrambles already chaotic school year

During the coronavirus pandemic, each state has grappled with varying approaches to education and public health. Now, the Centers for Disease Control have shared comprehensive guidelines for how to safely operate schools. Here’s what you need to know about the new federal guidelines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new and lengthy guidance Friday for how to safely reopen schools for in-person learning – the first issued under the Biden administration and one school leaders across the country have been long awaiting as they grapple over what’s become the most contentious political debate of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I recognize that the decision on when and how to begin in person learning is one that must be based on a thorough review of what the science tells us works and an understanding of the lived experiences, challenges and perspectives of teachers, school staff, parents and students,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in unveiling the new, non-binding guidance. “I know that teachers, parents and state and local leaders have been stretched thin trying to navigate this pandemic. Instead of asking them to piece together a patchwork of guidances by topic, we believed it was important to create a one-stop shop to provide scientific information they need.”

The guidance represents the first comprehensive set of recommendations from the CDC for how classes can safely resume since the coronavirus pandemic first shuttered schools across the country for more than 50 million children in the U.S.

Read this full article in US News & World Report: CDC Issues Guidance for Safely Reopening Schools

Public health experts point to vaccine distribution as a key to getting students back in class and keeping teachers safe. As more districts work to get teachers and staff their shots, leaders debate whether schools should become community hubs for vaccination.

An increasing number of school district leaders are setting up creative partnerships to vaccinate teachers and staff—and now some are pressing local health officials to let them expand to the community at large.

Sprawl, gentrification, and cycles of disinvestment have led to markedly different access to drug stores, supermarkets, and medical facilities across the United States, but nearly all communities still have schools, the leaders note. Centrally located and often at walkable distances for most residents, schools have the potential to serve as powerful vaccination hubs.

It’s unclear how many of the nation’s school districts currently host on-site vaccinations. Partly that’s a function of how much vaccine each state has received and where teachers and other school personnel fall on their tiered plans for rolling out vaccinations.

But if the idea picks up traction, it could increase public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines and potentially also help prioritize communities that have been hardest hit by the virus—and face the most hurdles in access to vaccinations.

Read this full article in EdWeek: Should Schools Become Vaccination Sites for Everyone?