The Tennessee Department of Education has released a toolkit on child wellbeing checks to help ensure the needs of children are being met during and after extended periods away from school and to empower local communities to support child well being.
To support this work, the department is setting aside $1 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to provide regional support for districts in implementing safe and healthy practices in schools. Details of how districts may apply will be shared with directors of schools in the coming days. In addition, a CDC grant will fund eight regional staff to support this work across the state.
In response to the pandemic’s long-term effects on Tennessee’s school districts and students, Governor Bill Lee charged Commissioner Penny Schwinn to convene the COVID-19 Child Well being Task Force. The goal of the taskforce is to help communities come together to check on our kids and support the holistic needs of Tennessee children.
To verify the well being and identify needs of all Tennessee children, the Task Force will be coordinating efforts with a district designee who can identify local community entities to partner in this work. Each district’s designee, as well as regional staff hired for this work, would participate in monthly child well being calls and report on the completion of child well being checks for students zoned within the local community.
The well being checks toolkit contains additional information and explanation on how child well being checks are defined, how district designees can be selected, the well being check process, the implementation process and models, templates, and a resource list.
Guidelines established in this toolkit are encouraged to be enacted during any period of extended school closure, through virtual school models, and when students return to school after extended periods away.