Department of Education to Host National Safe School Reopening Summit on Wednesday, March 24

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced more details regarding the virtual National Safe School Reopening Summit, which will take place on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 12 pm EDT. The summit program will include welcoming remarks from First Lady Dr. Jill Biden as well as remarks from Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky. It will also consist of three panels that will include health experts, educators and education leaders, and students.

“Since day one, my top priority, and a top priority for President Biden and Vice President Harris, has been to get kids safely back into schools full time. To accomplish this, we need to bring together students, educators, and school district leaders to listen and learn from one another as we work together to reopen schools quickly, safely, and equitably, and address the academic, social and emotional needs of our students,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

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“We are holding this Summit with the goal of sharing best practices and connecting leaders, educators, and students from across this country who are navigating this challenge together and finding creative solutions to support our students and bring them back to in-person learning. And we need to make sure we are listening to communities who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. The time is now, and schools across the country must act immediately to get students safely back into school buildings.”

The sessions of the Summit include:

  • Lessons from the Field: Implementing CDC’s K-12 Operational Strategy to Keep Students, Educators, and Staff Safe
    • Leaders and other representatives of school districts will highlight effective school reopening approaches that have a focus on collaboration and equity.
  • Technical Assistance from CDC and ED: Implementing CDC’s Guidance to Keep Students, Educators, and Staff Safe
    • Technical experts from CDC and ED will discuss CDC’s K-12 Operational Strategy, ED’s COVID-19 Implementation Handbook, and other resources; answer common question; and clarify misconceptions.
  • Supporting All Students: Addressing the Academic, Social, and Emotional Needs of Students with a Focus on Equity
    • Leaders and other representatives of school districts will share promising strategies to support the social, emotional, and academic development needs of students, with a particular focus on students who have been historically underserved and who have experienced the greatest disruption from the pandemic.

The Summit is one of a series of steps the Department is taking to provide support and resources to schools as they work to reopen quickly and safely. Last month, the Department released the first volume of the COVID-19 Handbook, which provided educators and staff with practical examples, roadmaps, and tools to implement CDC’s K-12 operational strategy for in-person learning, including the recommended five key mitigation measures.

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The Department plans to release Volume 2 of the Handbook in April. Earlier this month, President Biden also directed all U.S. states and territories to prioritize vaccinations of teachers and staff in Pre-K-12 schools and childcare providers throughout this month, with the goal of all providing these frontline essential workers with at least one dose of a vaccine by the end of March.

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