Safe, Supportive Environments, School Health Models

Supporting and Providing School Health & Mental Health Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Healthy Schools Campaign and Trust for America’s Health continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and schools. In particular, we are monitoring guidance from our federal partners on how to support access to behavioral and physical health services. We will continue to update this resource page with additional information from our federal and national partners as it becomes available.

Resources from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
On March 19, CMS posted Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to the website to aid state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. CMS is taking this action in its continuing efforts to protect the health and safety of providers and patients, including those who are covered by Medicaid and CHIP.

A press release with further information can be found here and the COVID-19 FAQs for State Medicaid and CHIP agencies can be found here. These FAQs, and earlier CMS actions in response to the COVID-19 virus, are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work CMS is doing in response to COVID-19, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

Resources from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC released new guidance on keeping children healthy while schools are closed. The guidance includes steps to protect children from getting sick, information about social activities while schools are closed, and recommendations to help children continue learning.

For more information, see all of CDC’s schools-based guidance.

In addition, CDC’s resources in languages other than English are available here.

Resources from the U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education has released a number of resources to support states and local education agencies (LEAs) in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources include the following:

Resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA has released several resources and has established a Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) to help those in need of immediate counseling related to the current public health crisis. People can call the helpline or text “TalkWithUS” to 66746 to be connected with trained professionals from the closest crisis counseling centers in the nationwide network. Additional resources and information from SAMHSA can be found on their website.

What We’re Reading from our Partners
American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 Resource Page
American Academy of Pediatrics
AAP’s resource page which includes information on understanding COVID-19 and how to speak with your children about COVID-19.

American Federation of Teachers Resources on COVID-19
American Federation of Teachers
Resources including information for nurses and healthcare professionals, educators and school staff. In addition, AFT’s Share My Lesson includes remote learning and lesson plans for educators, school support staff and parents.

Telepractice Resources During COVID-19
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA will update telepractice resources as new information becomes available.

ASTHO’s COVID-19 Resource Page
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
ASTHO plans to update this page with additional information as it becomes available.

Telehealth Coverage Policies in the Time of COVID-19
Center for Connected Health Policy
Center for Connected Health Policy is maintaining this living document to share updates as new information and new policies related to telehealth become available/are enacted.

States Act Quickly and Creatively to Curb COVID-19
National Academy for State Health Policy
Overview of how states are taking steps to curb the spread of COVID-19 and meet their residents’ unique needs.

States Use Federal Waivers to Expand Health Care Resources to Confront COVID-19
National Academy for State Health Policy
Overview of how states are using flexibility permitted by federal waivers and maximizing their resources as they work collaboratively with municipalities, health plans, hospitals, and marketplaces to address the severity of the COVID-19 epidemic within their borders.


resources Building Cross-Sector Collaboration to Support School Behavioral Health Services: Washington’s Children’s Regional Behavioral Health Pilot Program
September 15, 2020 Washington Download PDF

This case study provides an overview of the Children’s Regional Behavioral Health pilot project and highlights key lessons learned from this work. As states consider innovative methods for improving cross-sector collaboration, coordination of care and financing for school health services (especially behavioral health services), Washington’s model and experience provide valuable insights that can inform future efforts.

resources Medicaid Reimbursed Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Services in Schools: A South Carolina Case Study
May 13, 2020

This case study examines the implementation of Medicaid managed care school-based behavioral health services in South Carolina and highlights key lessons learned that can inform the efforts of other states choosing to coordinate school-based health care with Medicaid managed care programs.

resources Leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act to Support Student Health and Wellness in Tennessee
2020 Tennessee

This case study highlights Tennessee’s work to leverage the nation’s education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to support the critical connection between health and learning. Tennessee’s inclusion of health and wellness in its ESSA plan and the guidance developed to support district-level implementation provide best practices and lessons learned for states striving to support student health and wellness through education policy and practice.

resources A Guide to Expanding Medicaid-Funded School Health Services
December 10, 2019

This guidance document was produced with generous support from the Association of State Territorial Health Officials, Kaiser Permanente, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

resources Expanding Michigan’s School-Based Medicaid Program
October 8, 2019

This Healthy Students Promising Futures Learning Collaborative case study highlights Michigan's work to leverage the reversal of free care policy to expand the state's school-based Medicaid program. Beginning in October 2019, school districts in Michigan will be able to seek Medicaid reimbursement for services provided to all Medicaid-enrolled students (not only for health services included in a student's Individualized Education Program). This change presents an important opportunity to expand access to and resources for school health services, particularly behavioral health services

resources Safe and Supportive Schools 101
July 17, 2019 Presentation PDF

Sandra Williamson, American Institutes for Research; Anne Mathews-Younes, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Valerie Sims Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health; Sarah Lee, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Schools Branch

resources Medicaid and Schools State Policy Updates
July 17, 2019 Presentation PDF

Shannon Huska, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing; Jodi Patton, Nevada Division of Health Care Financing and Policy; Melinda Hollinshead, Public Consulting Group

resources Exploring Alignment of Medicaid and Education Systems to Expand the Mental Health Workforce
July 17, 2019 Presentation PDF

Eric Rossen, National Association of School Psychologists; Amy Edwards, Virginia Department of Education; Mike Leathead, Michigan Department of Education