Policy Matters Blog

COVID-19 School Psychologist Practice Impact Survey

NASP recently undertook a survey of its members to understand how COVID-19 was impacting school psychologists' practice and what additional supports NASP could provide during this unprecedented time. Approximately 1000 members responded, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The results of the survey detailed the rapidly changing environment school psychologists are being asked to practice in and how school psychologists have responded by providing new and vital services to their students, schools, and communities.

Additionally, survey takers were able to provide comments about what additional support and guidance NASP could provide. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic and the needs of school psychologists, respondents requested more guidance around telehealth services, specifically assessment. Many survey takers stated that they were concerned about using remote assessments (e.g., questions regarding whether the tests would be appropriate and/or valid). In addition to assessments, survey takers were interested in guidance around ways to ensure effective remote counseling and learning of both academic skills and SEL. Lastly, as schools begin to open up, respondents were interested in guidance detailing best practices for how to transition back to school and address additional mental health needs that may have arisen during the pandemic (e.g., trauma, grief).

NASP has heard these comments and has made extra efforts to provide all school psychologists, members or not, resources that support their practice at this time. All of these resources can be found in the NASP COVID-19 Resource Center.

·       The Ask the Expert Webinar Series provides broad guidance on a number of different topics and addresses several of the supports requested by survey takers. Specific topics include providing telehealth services, legal and ethical considerations for remote services, supporting parents, teachers, and administrators, suicide prevention and intervention during distance learning, and threat assessment in a virtual environment.

·       NASP has published documents on helping children cope with COVID-19, equity considerations during school closures, a virtual suicide assessment checklist, and how to deal with death and grief during COVID-19. NASP has also made relevant handouts from the Helping Handouts book available for free to aid school psychologists in supporting children's mental health.

·       A guidance document that will outline school re-entry considerations to support students' social emotional learning and mental and behavioral health.  These, along with other documents, are added to the resource center on a regular basis.

Survey takers also asked for NASP's continued support and advocacy at the federal level with regards to how to meet special education evaluation timelines and assessment requirements. NASP has been deeply involved in advocating for the needs of school psychologists and has worked in partnership with other organizations and coalitions (e.g. National Association of State Directors of Special Education, National Association of Secondary School Principals American,  Committee for Education Funding) to ensure the federal government supports school psychologists' practices. Specifically, NASP has:

·       communicated with the US Department of Education and members of Congress about the need for flexibility related to special education timelines;

·       worked to ensure that federal emergency spending legislation includes funds specifically for education, including funds to recruit and retain school staff (stay tuned for more resources to help you promote your role at the local and state level)

·       maintained close communication with allied partners and organizations and the media to highlight how school psychologists have continued to support parents and families during school closures.

Thank you to all the NASP members who completed the survey; your voice was heard, and we hope you find the resources we have created a helpful step for your practice during this time. We know this is a challenging and uncertain time and we appreciate all you are doing to help students, schools, and families.