From Your CASP Leadership
In this unprecedented moment of uncertainty and difficulty, we hope that you are managing as well as you can to adapt to this new reality. Your skills as school and educational psychologists, mental health providers, and leaders in your schools, districts, and regional associations are now more crucial than ever before. CASP is working to provide as much information, resources, and guidance as we can to help you make this transition as smoothly as possible.
The CASP Executive Committee would like to offer the following updates and suggestions to support you and your continued work on behalf of students and families across the State.
Taking care of the caregivers
First and foremost, make time to take care of yourself during this stressful time. As we know, when faced with crises, our focus often narrows, making it difficult to “see” our many options for solutions and self-care takes a back seat. Self-care is even more crucial in times when everyone and everything is in limbo and no one has clear answers. Ground yourself with positivity, limit 24/7 updates on the virus, stay connected (remotely or by other means) with loved ones and friends, and do something every day to energize and recharge yourself.
Here is a link to a 2014 Psychology Today article that can inform us of our many options – keeping in mind that any outdoor activities must adhere to social distancing expectations. Here are some self-care suggestions from NASP. You can also find online groups for support and social interaction (e.g., book clubs, support groups, etc.). This Friday we will be hosting a virtual Happy Hour, just to chat, from 4-6PM. Join us on Zoom.
Next, support your colleagues and teachers while doing your consulting. Besides doing the work of providing resources, helping to problem-solve difficult cases, brainstorming new and creative workarounds, and following through on requests; offer a listening ear, reassure others, don’t panic, follow-up and support open hearts and minds. Regularly remind others that we must work together to get through this situation.
Lastly, we know that many parents are also likely overwhelmed dealing with psychosocial stressors. We encourage you to utilize available channels and platforms to remain connected and offer support to parents and your school community.
Telehealth (providing virtual counseling services)
CASP members have been attending meetings with State leaders to collaborate in developing State guidelines to provide telehealth services. For now, we have been informed that CDE is in the process of developing guidelines in service delivery related to telehealth. Service delivery through “telehealth” for many of us is a new medium and something that we have not been trained to do. At this time, we recommend that all practitioners consider our ethical and legal responsibilities and stay within the scope of our training. For now, as we wait for specific guidelines from CDE, we recommend ensuring that you are properly trained on various digital platforms and software, and address the needs of those school staff we work with, such as our general and special education teachers, other support staff, and administrators. If your district has the means for you to communicate with your colleagues, such as email, Zoom, or a simple phone call, do so. Let’s check-in with our teachers as they begin to prep for this new system of instruction. More importantly, follow your district policy and guidelines. Here is a document from NASP that you may find helpful regarding virtual service delivery.
Collaborative Supports and Service Delivery
We know many of you are working in-person or remotely. According to the Supplemental Fact Sheet Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities, the USDOE encourages parents, educators, and administrators to collaborate creatively to continue to meet the needs of students with disabilities by utilizing various practices such as distance instruction, teletherapy, and tele-intervention, meetings held on digital platforms, online options for data tracking, and documentation.
We have also heard that school psychologists and districts are concerned about timelines. On March 22, 2020, the CDE released guidance on school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and services to students with disabilities. The CDE, California State Board of Education (SBE), and USDOE are working collaboratively towards a reasonable approach to compliance monitoring that accounts for the exceptional circumstances facing the state. The guidance can be accessed on the CDE website at and the USDOE website. We will share more information as soon as we receive it from CDE.
With regards to IEP services and assessments, at this time we are continuing to gather information from NASP and other sources, but this link should provide you with additional information.
If you have questions regarding your specific situation in light of Governor Newsom’s COVID-19 directives, please refer to your bargaining unit (union) as appropriate, for more information.
We have gathered a wide array of resources regarding the virus, actions schools are taking, and how psychologists and others can help students. We will continue updating the posted resources as they become available.
Dr. Sue Coats, CASP Mental Health Committee Chair, reminds us of the importance of grounding when we have distance interactions with others: Make sure to check-in with those you are interacting with both at the beginning and the end of the conversation.In this spirit, your Executive Board hopes you are doing well and are finding ways to manage this stressful time. We will continue to reach out to you and provide updates as we receive them so that we can navigate this ever-changing situation with confidence.
We are all in this together as parents, colleagues, educators, mental health providers and leaders.
Sending you healthy thoughts,
Maureen Schroeder, President
Jeannine Topalian, President-Elect
Brian Leung, Past President
Amy Balmanno, Secretary/Treasurer
(March 26, 2020)