Updated 8 April 2020
Safeguarding & Child Protection

Schools launching virtual learning platforms and online classrooms should review their existing child protection and safeguarding policies and consider implementing specific guidelines. These might address, for example:

  • where students and teachers should be located when they join virtual classrooms. E.g. for virtual classrooms, students should where possible be located in an open area in their house within earshot of parents; 
  • how teachers and students interact with each other online, what are the do’s and don’ts around language, sharing of any personal contact details and sharing of material during virtual classrooms; 
  • what teachers and students should do if they are worried about someone or something they witness in an online platform? For example: 
    • are students able to report easily to a nominated person in school? 
    • are teachers able to contact parents if they are worried about a student on a call, or block a user if that user starts sharing inappropriate material in a virtual break-out session? 
    • do you know how to report any illegal content that might be shared online?
  • are managers/child protection staff able to enter virtual classrooms to observe lessons on an ad hoc basis? 
  • is the school storing messages so that it can review material afterwards if necessary, and is this being done in accordance with relevant privacy laws?
  • if it is necessary to have one-to-one counselling sessions virtually, how is the school protecting the student and the counsellor? For example, could you have a parent be present at the start and the end of the session?

View this CIS guidance on Keeping Students Safe and Protecting their Well-being in online and remote learning environments.

This ICMEC Safer School Infographic sets out key principles of e-learning and child protection. Read the guidance from Tim Gerrish, a CIS Affiliated Consultant, and his colleagues at The Child Protection Advisors.

Read this Safeguarding and Well-being guidance from Farrer & Co. for an overview of key considerations and this guidance on risk assessments.

This guidance on Safeguarding in Schools during COIVD-19 from the UK government sets out key principles for schools, including information about their child protection policies. 

View this SWGfL Safe Remote Learning for information about safeguards to put in place when organising classes online.

View this NSPCC Lone Working Guidance for information about how to protect staff, faculty and young people involved in one to one sessions.

Mental health & well-being of staff, faculty, parents and carers

Advice for schools

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has published this advice for schools on how to help children manage their mental health and wellbeing during times of disruption to their learning.

The role of the counsellor

For guidance on the role of the school counsellor during online and remote learning, please see this Position Statement issued by ISCA.


Report online child sexual abuse material to international hotlines. 

Report inappropriate, harmful or illegal material directly to the service provider on their website. View reporting routes

Helplines and counselling agencies for students requiring additional support or intervention

Helplines and Virtual Counselling Organisations

Find a mental health helpline and a trusted child helpline in your country.

The following organizations offer virtual counselling:

Online Safety Resources
Pandemic resources

Doug Walker, Child Psychologist and CIS Affiliated Consultant, shared these pandemic resources from the US National Child Traumatic Stress Network to support you as you work to support your own community.

Self-awareness and well-being for educators

Ellen Mahoney reflects on the mental health of educators during times of uncertainty and provides suggestions and resources to help address feelings of powerless or ill-equipped or hopeless. Read more

Understanding the mental health & social impact of the Coronavirus: Finding the Middle Path

Dr Suzanne Anderson’s article is excellent and a must”—Ellen Mahoney, Sea Change Mentoring. Read article

Mobilizing mentors

At the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB), Michelle Chow-Liu Head of HS Counseling explains that they have “mobilized our mentors and have been connecting with their students every day. We worked closely with Ellen Mahoney [Sea Change Mentoring] to implement this and the closure has catapulted the mentor program in a seriously good way. The mentors have helped to ensure no students fall through the cracks and everyone has someone they are connected to. As counselors (comprehensive) we have tried to keep our day to day schedule and have ran some zoom meetings for parents and we will be expanding to students as well. We are offering our study in <destinations> coffee morning sessions online. For students, we will be planning some grade level meet ups as well. Staying connected is difficult at this time, but not impossible. Stay well all.


Resources to share...

with your students

Find a trusted child helpline in your country. Read more

Childline has created a new webpage with information for children about coronavirus.  

YoungMinds has published advice on: 

Student Minds has produced guidance and links to resources to help students: 

  • Look after their mental health  
  • Guidance for those with ongoing mental health difficulties 
  • Looking after your health if self-isolating 
  • Tackling xenophobia 
  • Supporting friends & family  
with your parents and carers

The NSPCC has produced advice for parents who are worried a child or young person may be struggling with their mental health or has anxiety about Coronavirus: Talking to a child worried about coronavirus (COVID-19)

This parents and carers toolkit offers practical online safety advice for parents and carers and this NSPCC advice for parents includes tips and guidance for parents about how to keep themselves and their children safe online.

Read the CIS Perspectives blog for additional stories from our community. CIS members can also find additional resources in the CIS Community portal