When schools shuttered suddenly more than a year ago, teachers and staff scrambled to recreate their school communities as best they could in a virtual environment. And while teaching and learning is a central component, not to be overlooked are the other, auxiliary experiences: the relationships forged, the support services provided, the social-emotional needs met.

As schools sought to provide high-quality instruction to their students during the pandemic, they also wrestled with how best to support the social, emotional, physical and mental well-being of their entire community—encompassing students, families and staff.

Those challenges were elevated to the national level on Wednesday, when the U.S. Department of Education highlighted two school districts’ solutions during its virtual National Safe School Reopening Summit, featuring remarks by an all-star cast that included First Lady Jill Biden, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden.

Staff and students from both school districts, Cajon Valley Union School District in California and Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma, emphasized the importance of building and maintaining relationships during the pandemic, including those between teachers and administrators, teachers and students, staff and parents, and schools with the surrounding community.

Read the full article about building relationships during COVID by Emily Tate at EdSurge.