TSCA's Top Six Tips

We can all agree that the last few weeks have been challenging. School counselors across the state are feeling overwhelmed and unsure. Your TSCA board is busy planning supports and resources to serve you as we move forward into uncharted and uncertain waters. In the meantime,we've provided some information and resources about what to do next.
Your Membership
Your TCA & TSCA membership dollars help us to continue to offer support services and advocate on behalf of all professional counselors in Texas. Join or renew today.
Increase your wait time.

Like many helping professionals, we are all grasping for ways to support our vulnerable students and to be responsive to our school communities. It’s tempting to rush and to panic. Yet, we believe that in times of crisis, what is most often needed is a deep breath and the patient work of creating space for sharing. We need to maintain healthy boundaries that allow us to be properly rested and equipped to serve. We need to be thoughtful and take time to collaborate.
Join us for an Interactive Chat!
To begin your collaboration, we invite you to join the TSCA board for an interactive chat:

Sunday, March 29 at 7 pm
Also, feel free to contact the board directly by visiting the TSCA leadership page.
Set up your virtual office.

Working from home is new for most of us. There are many ethical and logistical issues to think through. Whether you’re thinking about how to maintain confidentiality or you’re just trying to figure out how Zoom works, know that you are not alone!

Are School Counselors Covered?
Information about Liability Protection 
School counselors have asked TCA whether they need to secure liability insurance to work from home. TCA reached out to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) for an answer. The TASB Risk Management Fund provides liability coverage to about 650 school districts, ESCs, and other education entities in Texas, including some large districts. Other districts secure liability coverage from other pools or insurance companies.  
For the TASB Risk Management Fund, School Counselors would be considered covered persons if they are acting within the course and scope of their duties. This means that if your district is in the TASB Fund, and you are using technology-based platforms to perform your normal duties with students, parents, and co-workers, you would be considered a Covered Person by the Fund. Of course, coverage determinations for specific circumstances or individual claims are determined based on the facts of the claim; but, according to TASB, in our current reality and for districts who secure liability coverage through the Fund, there is no loss of status as a Covered Person for a school counselor working within your normal course and scope of duties.

We recommend you contact your district to confirm coverage before incurring additional expenses. 
Get a handle on your community resources.

Good news! You are already uniquely qualified to assist in this area! Take some time to go through your list and pick out a few sturdy resources to share with students, families, and staff. Here’s three to get you started:

Adapt your protocols for responding to mental health crisis.

Times of stress can exacerbate mental health issues. We know that some of our students may be responding to their pain and confusion with thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It’s not too early to start talking to your district leadership and your peers about how you will respond as concerns arise. Consider reaching out to your educational service center, your local behavioral health authority, and your local law enforcement. This recent information from the US Department of Education has some helpful guidance on emergency exceptions to FERPA. This is a time when it will truly take a village to care for our kids! 
Support your parent community.

Many parents are in need of guidance on how to address this pandemic with their children. However, they are being overwhelmed with the amount of information from various sources. Work with your administrators and/or communications department to use your existing communication platforms to provide reliable and timely information to families. The CDC, SAMHSA and many others have put out great resources in multiple languages.

Check out this great article from Whole Child Counseling that collects even more resources that you can share with families. This is a great time to build relationships with and advocate for parents!
Consider how you will organize your program.

Resist the urge to try to be “all things to all people.” As always, you’re going to be able to get more done when you assess for needs and make intentional choices about how you spend your time. Right now, your system support may consist primarily of supporting your staff through consultation. You may also be investing in your own professional growth as you learn the tools you need for this environment of virtual counseling. Your guidance instruction may be adapted to shorter, more self-directed tasks, but now more than ever, our insights on coping, self-regulation and empathy will be critical to our students’ success. Likewise, your individual planning may help students reorient on their future goals and aspirations. Finally, your responsive services will be the lifeline your students depend on to endure this unprecedented challenge.
The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs is your road map to help you customize your program to meet the needs of your students. TCA Members can purchase a hard copy now at a special rate of just $25.

Need some inspiration? Take a FREE COURSE

Access TCA's online learning and take a free webinar over the Texas Model (1.5 CE hours).
Resources from TCA

Members of the Texas Counseling Association can access LegalCare at any time (if you are a member of TSCA, you are a member of TCA). This is for telephone consultations with an attorney on personal and professional legal questions. Members can access this benefit through their TCA Member's Area.
COVID-19 and Telehealth

New information added daily! Access TCA's COVID-19 and Telehealth Resources online.

Bookmark the Telehealth & Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources page and access our compiled resources at any time.
Know that we are going to make a difference to Texas families because we have skills and we have each other!

Connect with us on social media!
Texas School Counselor Association is a division of
the Texas Counseling Association.