A guide for K-12 schools and communities for the 2021-2022 school year
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on America’s students, families, educators, and schools. But with increased access to vaccinations for school staff and students 12 and older, proven virus prevention strategies, and unprecedented resources from the American Rescue Plan and other federal pandemic relief funds, America’s public schools have been steadily reopening for in-person learning, and students are returning to classrooms.
We must continue that progress and provide every student, from every community and background, the opportunity to return to in-person learning full-time this fall. We must keep opening school doors and welcoming students back into classrooms. We must re-engage parents and families as they return to school and return to work, following more than a year of the pandemic. We must welcome families back in authentically, listen and seek to understand to their concerns, and respond to their needs, so that all families feel comfortable sending their students to school this fall. As we start the 2021-2022 school year, schools and communities must address gaps that were exacerbated by the pandemic and build our education system back better than before.
The Biden Administration has developed a Return to School Roadmap to support educators and school leaders, parents, families, and communities and lead students on a path to return to in-person learning this fall, where they are safe and supported. The Roadmap contains three “Landmark” priorities for each school, district, and state as they work to reengage students this summer and bring them back into classrooms. These priorities can be advanced using funding from the American Rescue Plan – which provided historic investments to states and districts as they work to reopen schools safely and address the impacts of COVID-19 on our nation’s students and schools. The goal of the Roadmap is to make sure every student has the support and opportunities they need to heal, learn, and grow in their classrooms and create an environment where they belong and can thrive.
The Biden Administration recognizes we must make long-term investments in our education system to build truly equitable schools and close gaps that were exacerbated by the pandemic. That’s why President Biden has proposed historic investments in his Build Back Better agenda to build on the recovery investments in the American Rescue Plan. These proposals include:
- Providing an additional $20 billion for Title I schools to encourage states to address inequitable school funding systems, pay teachers competitively in high-need schools, and expand access to rigorous coursework
- Providing an additional $3.1 billion to assist states to improve educational and developmental outcomes for children with disabilities
- Improving our schools by addressing critical teacher shortages, increasing pipelines for teachers of color, providing training and support to help teachers grow and keep great teachers in the classroom
- Investing in school infrastructure to rebuild schools in underinvested communities and address health and safety issues beyond ventilation
- Investing in community schools which serve as community hubs with wraparound services and supports for families and students
- Continuing to prioritize students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs to support their academic success with a goal of doubling the number of counselors, school psychologists and social workers