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APA Recommendations on Starting School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Friday, October 9, 2020 - 2:00pm

Dr. George DuPaul, professor of school psychology and associate dean for research, contributed to a report intended to complement a number of outstanding existing reports compiled by respected government, university, and association sources on how children can return safely to school during the coronavirus pandemic. The report provides recommendations in the following areas as they pertain to starting school during this challenging time: motivation, behavior support, learning and instruction, well-being and assessment. It also addresses relevant topics related to social justice and equity.

This report is intended to complement a number of outstanding existing reports com- piled by respected government, university, and association sources on how children can return safely to school during the coronavirus pandemic. Eight psychologists who specialize in studying and working with children and youth from pre-K to 12th grade reviewed those reports and contributed to this document with the following goals in mind:

  • To identify areas essential to effective schooling, including virtual learning, that are¬†not¬†emphasized in the other reports.
  • To provide practical, evidence-based steps shown by psychological research to enhance student learning and well-being, whether in person or online.
  • To offer suggestions to parents, and administrators of school-age children on how to implement these steps. The examples target the general student population and can be modified to address age differences as needed.

While the public often associates psychology with efforts to address mental health concerns, this paper focuses specifically on additional domains of psychology: what psychological science says about learning, child development, motivation, assessment, and behavior change in the classroom context. Applying psychology to classroom learn- ing has a rich history of leadership starting with the first president of APA, G. Stanley Hall, a renowned specialist in child development as well as the work of renowned Swiss educational psychologist Jean Piaget in the 20th century and continuing to the present.

The report provides recommendations in the following areas as they pertain to starting school during this challenging time: motivation, behavior support, learning and instruction, well-being and assessment. It also addresses relevant topics related to social justice and equity.

Topic: 
Research Focus: 
Communities and Families
Field of Expertise: 
Education Policy