SSN Members Provide Guidance for Schools in the Wake of COVID-19

In early June 2020, the Trauma Responsive Educational Practices (TREP) Project, led by University of Chicago Associate Professor Micere Keels, put on a conference to address the impact of national crises on the mental health and wellbeing of children and youth, and the role of schools in addressing it. The conference brought together educators, researchers, and policymakers to discuss evidence-based strategies and provide guidance for decision makers as they reevaluate the roles and capabilities of schools.

The conference involved several members of SSN who were able to offer their research-based recommendations during panel discussions. Each of the panelists also contributed a policy brief meant to capture and share their contributions. This collection serves as a resource for educators and policymakers, spanning various topics including recognizing trauma in students, policies around standardized testing, and how to expand capacity for mental health treatment in schools. 

Recordings were made of each panel, which are available on the conference website, along with the compilation of policy briefs by each of the panelists.

Featured Panelists

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Used her knowledge on how schools have responded to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, to offer guidance on how to respond to COVID-19. She provided examples and reflections from educators managing the trauma of a hurricane to highlight essential strategies for educators addressing the impact of a trauma.

University of South Florida

Similarly offered recommendations for managing student trauma, while also addressing the need for supporting educators dealing with their own stressors and experiences, especially in an urban context.

University of Kentucky

Wrote about his experience with Project AWARE, a partnership between the University of Kentucky Child Center on Trauma and Children (CTAC) and the Department of Education, and how his research demonstrates the need for providing training and support for teachers in recognizing and screening for trauma.


Vanderbilt University

Wrote about the growing lack of capacity of schools to address the mental health needs of students, particularly in low income areas, including concrete steps local and state policymakers can take to reduce the barriers to access.

University of North Georgia

Focused on the increasing commodification of education, particularly in the context of systemic poverty and racial inequalities, and how COVID-19 can provide decision makers with the opportunity to re-examine how schools, teachers, and students are evaluated in order to work towards having more equitable access to education.