DASH Partner Update – October 2020
Fall typically brings about references to change and reflection as the year heads toward a close. In 2020, we have been faced with so much, and the need for flexibility and resilience has been paramount throughout the year. Students, parents, and school staff, in particular, continue to adjust to constantly shifting environments. These times have required all of us to move quickly to focus on innovative solutions that will support youth through this COVID-19 pandemic. I know that schools across the nation, along with all of you, will continue to offer support to students, families, and communities. There remain many pressing and urgent needs and we are not yet in a place where we can take our foot off the gas. However, it is important for our actions to not only fit the moment, but the longer-term needs of our nation’s youth that this year has made so apparent.
One of the tools that is critical to current action as well as long-term planning is our Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data. YRBS data helps us monitor youth behaviors and experiences and highlight areas of progress and where there is more work to do. At the end of this month, we will be releasing our 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report, 2009-2019, which focuses on data related to our four priority areas: Sexual Behavior, High Risk Substance Use, Experience of Violence, and Mental Health and Suicide. This report will also serve as a pre-COVID-19 baseline for these risk areas as we plan for long-term recovery.
To help schools move toward the goal of recovery, DASH’s funded local education agencies and NGOs have recently received additional funding to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of students and staff. What we learn from this important local work and from our partners will be a critical tool as we determine how to best support and promote adolescent mental health and wellbeing in schools.
Kathleen A. Ethier, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Adolescent and School Health
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Upcoming Release of the 2019 Data Summary & Trends Report. DASH will release its Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report: 2009-2019 (DSTR) pdf icon[PDF – 31 MB] on October 22. This report provides an in-depth look at trends in sexual behavior, high-risk substance use, experiencing violence, and mental health and suicide. It includes overall trends, as well as trends by gender and race/ethnicity, and features a separate section dedicated to examining trends among sexual minority youth.
- Support Through CARES Funding. DASH is using CARES Act funding to support schools, students, and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this funding DASH is:
- Leveraging its existing program by providing funds for additional mental health staff in 22 local education agencies to expand resources to address social and emotional wellbeing.
- Awarding funds to non-governmental organizations to focus on student mental health and parent support in response to prolonged school closures.
- Updating the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), including surveillance infrastructure and survey administration to ensure quality data collection continues during the pandemic. Ongoing data collected will be critical in understanding how COVID-19 has affected students and families, and what actions schools can take in the future to further mitigate the long-lasting effects of the pandemic.
- Conducting research projects to better understand and meet the needs of schools, students, and parents.
- COVID-19 Videos for Schools. CDC posted a wide range of videos related to COVID-19 and schools. Video topics include maintaining healthy operations, maintaining healthy environments, and preparing for when someone gets sick.
- COVID-19 Resources for Parents. CDC recently released a COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit to support parents, caregivers, and other adults in identifying children and young people’s social, emotional, and mental health challenges and ensuring their well-being. The resources kit has age-specific web pages for children, adolescents, and young adults.
- New Guidance on Case Investigation and Contact Tracing. The newly released Interim Guidance for Case Investigation and Contact Tracing in K-12 Schools highlights potential collaboration between health officials and K-12 school administrators to facilitate effective case investigation and contact tracing for COVID-19.
- check circle solid iconCOVID-19 Trends Among School-Aged Children—United States, March 1– September 19, 2020This Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report updates information describing COVID-19 in children that CDC released in April, and describes demographic characteristics, underlying conditions, hospitalization, ICU admission, and deaths among children with confirmed COVID-19 in the United States. It can provide a baseline for monitoring COVID-19 trends among children and evaluating prevention strategies in school settings.
- check circle solid iconModeling the Impact of PrEP Programs for Adolescent Sexual Minority Males Based on Empirical Estimates for the PrEP Continuum of Care Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—an effective and safe intervention to prevent HIV transmission—was recently approved for use by adolescents. In light of recent findings on PrEP adherence and retention among adults and on the impact of focused interventions to improve these components of the PrEP continuum, this publication models the potential impact of PrEP use among at-risk adolescent sexual minority males.
- check circle solid iconTruth be Told: Adolescents’ Disclosure of Sexual Activity to Healthcare ProvidersThis study describes whether adolescent and young adult patients truthfully disclose sexual activity to providers during a sexual history and explores associations between disclosure and receipt of recommended services.
- COVID-19 School Response Dashboard
The National Association of Secondary School Principals is leading efforts to create a National COVID-19 School Response Dashboardexternal icon to provide information on how schools are reopening and what factors contribute to safe reopening. School leaders can participate in data collection by enrolling through this surveyexternal icon.
- Technical Assistance Resource from the U.S. Department of Education
Questions and Answers for K-12 Public Schools in the Current COVID-19 Environmentpdf iconexternal icon provides additional information related to schools’ obligations under Section 504/Title II, Title VI, and Title IX as schools continue to make decisions regarding the provision of educational services for all children in light of COVID.
- Release of the National School Climate Survey
GLSEN recently released The 2019 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth in Our Nation’s Schools (NSCS)external icon. The report includes data and findings about LGBTQ youth’s experiences in school, their access to LGBTQ supportive resources and the positive effects of these resources, differences in LGBTQ students’ experiences based on different characteristics (including differences across sexual orientation, gender identity, and race and ethnicity), and how LGBTQ students’ experiences have changed over time.
- New Data from the Trevor Project
The Trevor Project recently released two new resources, a research brief on Latinx LGBTQ youth suicide riskexternal icon and the results of a poll highlighting the impact of 2020 on mental healthexternal icon. The research brief examines factors associated with attempting suicide among Latinx LGBTQ youth. The poll, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project, details the impact of COVID-19 and recent violence against Black Americans on youth mental health.
- Joint Statement for Greater Support of LGBTQ Youth
Human Rights Campaign Foundation and 23 of their Project THRIVE partners released a joint statement on the importance of ensuring youth-serving professionals are giving LGBTQ youth the support they need to thrive. The statement comes in response to the HRC Foundation’s new analysis of YRBS data that shows LGBTQ youth, especially transgender and questioning youth, are living in crisis. Read the press releaseexternal icon and full joint statementexternal icon.
- The Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) School Health 101 Microlearning
ASTHO’s recently released learning moduleexternal icon, developed in partnership with Healthy Schools Campaign, covers the link between education and health outcomes, an overview of education governance structure, relevant federal rules and regulations, and strategies for improving health outcomes through school settings
Y2 Connect Boston is a web-based sexual health resource guide designed to help Boston youth locate and access local youth-friendly sexual health services and trusted, accurate sexual health information. Once COVID-19 pandemic school closures went into effect in March, Y2 Connect was leveraged to communicate clinic updates and health resources, highlight clinics and programs that remained open, and provide instructions for accessing these resources during the pandemic.
- October is National Bullying Prevention Month and National Substance Abuse Awareness Month
- November is is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month
- November 16-20: American Education Week
- November 19: National Parent Involvement Day
- December 1: World AIDS Day