December 17, 2020

School-Wide Strategies to Support Students & Staff During COVID-19

The Greenville County School District recently transitioned to full-time, in-person instruction for all elementary students. Keeping students and staff safe is a priority and guidelines were developed in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to prioritizing safety guidelines, school administrators and guidance counselors are prioritizing strategies to support student, staff, and family social-emotional well-being during this unique school year.   

Dr. Patterson and his staff have implemented the following strategies: 

  • A self-care cart for staff -- counselors stock a cart that includes healthy snacks, fuzzy socks, motivational bookmarks, etc.  
  • A self-care bulletin board – staff use the board to display healthy recipes, exercise tips, and staff shoutouts 
  • Virtual “coffee talks” and “lunch and learns” -- school counselors schedule virtual meetings with parents and caregivers to share school information and answer questions 
  • Social-emotional learning (SEL) professional development opportunities for staff -- all staff participate in either a “Mindful Schools” or “Conscious Discipline” learning track 
  • Think Guidance It’s Friday (TGIF) -- school counselors provide lessons each Friday that include emotional check-ins and SEL-focused activities 
  • Student pen pal program -- this program pairs students together to support connection and social-emotional learning among peers 
  • “Going Home Checklist” -- teachers receive a checklist with reminders and ideas for self-care 
  • Resource sharing -- staff share tips and best practices for supporting student, family, and staff well-being, including Healthier Generation’s social-emotional learning and Kohl's Healthy at Home resources 

In addition to these support strategies, the administration has also restructured the school day and has experienced positive results with the following changes: 

  • Allowing more time for outdoor physical activity breaks 
  • Modifying recess games to adhere to CDC guidelines 
  • Modifying lunch schedules to provide duty-free time for teachers  
  • Modifying activities, such as the Veterans Day Assembly, to be delivered virtually 

As educational obstacles have emerged, Sterling School has demonstrated that they can meet these challenges and stay committed to the tenets of the Whole Child.  

How is your school supporting students, staff, and families during COVID-19?  Share your stories with @HealthierGen on Twitter. Then, visit Healthier Generation’s COVID-19 resource page for additional ideas and resources. 

Sean Brock

Associate Director, Whole Child Health