USED & White House
From ED: An Invitation to Identify Best Practices for Operating Safely During the Pandemic

MARCH 18, 2021



Dear Colleagues,


On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (E.O.) 14000, “Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers.” This E.O. directs the U.S. Department of Education (Department) to develop a Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) to share lessons learned and best practices from the field for operating safely during the pandemic. The Clearinghouse will provide an opportunity for grantees and stakeholders to share learnings with one another and access a wide variety of resources from across Federal agencies. 


The Clearinghouse will include resources on the following topics:

  • Safe and Healthy Environments: School and campus approaches to implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended mitigation strategies and preparing for and sustaining in-person operations safely.
  • Providing Supports to Students: School and campus strategies to meet student social, emotional, mental health, academic, financial, and other needs, including access to food and other basic needs.
  • Teacher, Faculty, and Staff Well-Being, Professional Development, and Supports: School and campus strategies to address the social, emotional, health, and other needs of teachers, faculty, and staff.


We invite you to submit materials for consideration for the Clearinghouse, including fact sheets, step-by-step guidance, policies or regulations, sample agreements among partners (e.g., between a local education agency and a local health agency, or an employee union), ready-to-implement resources, videos or other media focused on how to implement practices, and descriptions of how you have implemented strategies. Please do not submit materials such as commercial advertisements, vendor solicitations or products, and editorials. Submitters may include the actual materials or links to them. 


Please include the following with each submission:

  1. Contact information
  2. Topic (e.g., safe and healthy environments; providing supports for students; teacher, faculty, and staff well-being, professional development, and supports)
  3. Target audience (e.g., early childhood education, PreK-12, postsecondary)
  4. A short description of materials (two to three sentences)
  5. What makes the submission a lesson learned or best practice (e.g., it is based on local data regarding number of cases of COVID in the community, State or Federal guidance, research), including a summary of the impact and any evidence of positive outcomes
  • ·       Please include here the setting in which the practice has been used (e.g., rural/urban/suburban, public/private/proprietary, 2-year or 4-year higher education institution, Historically Black College or University/Tribally Controlled College or University/Minority Serving Institution; other educational settings such as correctional facilities)
  1. Whether there is a focus on racial equity and/or another equity focus, such as a focus on historically underserved populations including students with disabilities; English learners; students from low-income backgrounds; first-generation college students; students experiencing homelessness; students in or formerly in foster care; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) students; undocumented students; student veterans and military-connected students; student parents; and international students.

Submit materials to Upon submission, you will receive a message confirming receipt.  Your submission will be reviewed by Department and other Federal agency staff and posted on the Clearinghouse upon approval. Please also feel free to others in your state and districts that may have practices they would like to highlight.


Thank you very much for supporting students, teachers, faculty, and staff across the nation. 



Patrick Rooney, Director

School Support and Accountability

About the Author

Patrick Rooney is the Director of two offices--Evidence-Based Practices Assessment and Accountability and School Support and Accountability within ED’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Before this recent appointment, Mr. Rooney was the Deputy Director of the Office of State Support.  Prior to joining the Office of State Support, Mr. Rooney worked in the Implementation and Support Unit, where he helped lead the work of the Reform Support Network, providing technical assistance to states implementing comprehensive Race to the Top reforms, and the Race to the Top Assessment program, which provided grants to groups of states to develop new assessments aligned to state’s college- and career-ready standards. Mr. Rooney also worked in the DC Office of State Superintendent of Education, where he was a senior policy advisor and worked on a wide variety of K-12 issues in the District of Columbia.