COVID-19 Update: Join IBWPPI in Saluting the Class of 2020

From The Desk of President Barbara A. Perkins

As we approach the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, we dedicate this COVID-19 update to the state of our education system and the prioritization of our students' emotional wellness.


I recently had the privilege of speaking at the virtual HBCU Action Nation Town Hall where I gave voice to the concerns of students, educational agencies and community partners I’ve consulted with. A few issues I raised included:


  • Parent-teacher support. As a community organization that is looking through the lens of the family, it’s clear that some families don’t know what to expect in the age of COVID-19 and have long lists of needs and concerns that aren’t yet being met.


  • Preparation for technological shifts. There’s an assumption that students and even teachers are adequately prepared to pivot into virtual classroom instruction. If the technology changes are not being translated to a basic level for students and family, then we won’t see positive outcomes.


  • Classrooms without walls. Universities need to extend their walls beyond the classroom and faculty. They should consider partnerships with alumni associations and community organizations that have professionals that can provide much-needed assistance to students in this critical time.


  • Embed emotional wellness into campus life. Peer-to-peer conversations around mental health can aid in supporting students while they are at home and upon their return to campus.


IBWPPI is committed to ensuring the success of our students and lifting them up in this critical time. To watch the replay of the conference, visit IBWPPI's Facebook page .


Additionally, we invite you to show your support for our young women and girls at our virtual PUSHOUT watch party where we will have a salute to the Class of 2020. RSVP for the event on Saturday, June 6th at 2-4:30 pm ET using the password "IBWPPI." Make sure you register to receive Zoom call details.


We look forward to having you join us.


In Faith,

Barbara A. Perkins

Join Us for our PUSHOUT Virtual Watch Party

Join IBWPPI for our Pushout Virtual Watch Party on Saturday June 6, 2020 2-4:30pm ET, 11am-1:30pm PT . We strongly encourage the attendance of young women, girls and college students. At our “Salute to Graduates and Day of Empowerment,” we will share words of wisdom and encouragement to students who may not have a traditional graduation due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Make sure you register to receive Zoom call details.


After we watch the film PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools , we’ll have a brief Q&A and share updates on the Census and upcoming state elections. We look forward to having you attend this fun event with free giveaways, trivia and games. The ZOOM call-in details will be shared with attendees before the event.


Please share this invite with your family, friends and colleagues!


CDC Guidance for Reopening Schools

As some communities in the United States open K-12 schools, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers the following considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19.


Guiding Principles to Keep in Mind:


  • Lowest Risk: Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
  • More Risk: Small, in-person classes, activities, and events. Groups of students stay together and with the same teacher throughout/across school days and groups do not mix. Students remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (e.g., hybrid virtual and in-person class structures, or staggered/rotated scheduling to accommodate smaller class sizes).
  • Highest Risk: Full sized, in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities.


Schools may consider implementing several strategies to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19.


  • Educate staff and families about when they/their child(ren) should stay home and when they can return to school. Actively encourage employees and students who are sick or who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 to stay home.
  • Teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., playground equipment, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) within the school and on school buses at least daily or between use as much as possible.
  • Use of shared objects (e.g., gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, toys, games) should be limited when possible, or cleaned between use.
  • Space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible.
  • Stagger arrival and drop-off times or locations by cohort or put in place other protocols to limit contact between cohorts and direct contact with parents as much as possible.


You can review the full CDC guidance here .


Homeschooling Corner

  • Here is a list of resources available for you, organized by grade level
  • is offering lessons in different subjects like math, science and art for free thanks to UNICEF. Follow this link and type in the code “AOFLUNICEF”
  • Scholastic Learn at Home is also offering their lessons for free. You can choose activities within from grade levels between PreK and 6+. These include read-along e-books and educational videos under their “Watch and learn Library.”


COVID-19 Education Resources and News

Have questions about student loan relief in recent legislation? This resource from The Institute for College Access and Success answers what loans are covered or not, what actions you need to take, etc. 

A tool from EdWeek to project how much COVID-19 will cost schools in your state

The U.S. Department of Education announced new guidance on flexibility related to Title IV student aid. Most importantly, emergency aid and personal tax rebate checks will not count as income on the FAFSA. Read more here.

Concerned About Education Vulnerable Populations? Resources and best practices in remote education are available for English Language Learners and students with disabilities

Two surveys by the Education Week Research Center reported   8 key findings regarding the extent to which students are learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Researchers found that low-income students have less access to digital learning tools and are less likely to engage online.


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