Beyond the Mask: Promoting Transformation and Healing in School Reopening: Authentic Youth Engagement

The U.S. Department of Education required each state to submit a reopening plan outlining how they were using and planned on using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) conducted an analysis of 37* state plans to better understand if and how schools were authentically engaging students in the design and implementation of their reopening plans.  

While states were required to solicit stakeholder feedback in developing their reopening plans, including feedback from students, in general, states are not authentically engaging young people around school-based mental health. States and districts should be intentional about consulting with students in developing mental health services and programs, especially given that stakeholders listed mental health as their primary concern.  

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*CLASP analyzed the 37 plans that were available as of July 5th, 2021. Plans submitted after this date were not included in our analysis.