ASCA Toolkit: Crisis Planning and Response During a Pandemic/Virtual School Counseling
While school counselors are key to providing grief and crisis support whether in a virtual or brick and mortar setting, some of the ways material and information is delivered may be different in a virtual world. 

School counselors cannot complete this work and deliver services to students in a silo. Crisis planning and response – whether the crisis is a sudden school closure in general or an individual student crisis during the school shutdown – requires a school and community conversation. Talking through the virtual crisis and grief response with administrators and the school crisis team is vitally important. Consider these tips:
  • Ensure a plan is in place before a crisis occurs. 
  • Communicate the plan with all school staff to ensure everyone is clear about how the process will work. 
  • Reach out to community organizations and partners to fill in service gaps. 
  • Work with administrator about how support to staff during the crisis.
  • Ensure the school website, and perhaps your own personal email signature, includes important information, crisis lines and resources.
  • Regularly check in with students and families. This isn't just a job for the school counselor but administration and other staff as well. 
  • Remember to practice self-care.
For additional guidance regarding supporting students, read the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement’s Supporting Grieving Students During a Pandemic – A guide to using the Coalition to Support Grieving Students materials. 
 
The School Counselor Role
Safe school and crisis response literature suggests several important crisis prevention and response preparedness practices in which school counselors should engage, including: 
  • providing individual and group counseling 
  • advocating for student safety by recommending school personnel put consistent procedures, communication and policies in place
  • providing interventions for students at risk of dropping out or harming self or others 
  • supporting student-initiated programs 
  • providing family, faculty and staff education programs
  • facilitating open communication between students and caring adults 
  • participating in district and school response team planning and practices 
  • promoting trauma-informed practices 
  • partnering with community resources
In short, school counselors are a vital resource in preventing, intervening, and responding to crisis situations. Source: ASCA Position Statement: The School Counselor and Safe Schools and Crisis Response
 
Crisis and Grief Response Resources
Crisis Planning Pandemic-Specific Resources Trauma Grief Hotlines
The following hotlines may be helpful for students in crisis while not attending school due to COVID-19.
 
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
(800) 422-4453

Disaster Distress Helpline – SAMHSA
(800) 985-5990

Girls & Boys Town National Hotline
(310) 855-4673

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
(800) 843-5678

National Domestic Violence Hotline
(800) 799-7233

National Parent Helpline
(855) 427-2736

National Runaway Safeline
(800) 786-2929
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800) 273-8255

Poison Control 
(800) 222-1222

Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
(800) 656-4673