As we have responded to the varied governmental, health and educational authorities, there has been a lot of confusion. Schools have been trying to reopen and are finding extreme difficulty in making decisions that meet the needs of students and parents. Some of our schools are in high COVID-19 concentration communities and bringing students back can be a health risk to students and teachers. Other schools are less vulnerable and can either provide a hybrid approach or completely live attendance for their students. Other schools are going back and forth with their decisions based on feedback, infection rates or other factors.
This whole process has been confusing and has contributed to the deterioration of the mental health and well-being of children and families. In a recent article in the New York Daily News, Dr. Rosy Chhabra and Dr. Alicia Menard-Livingston have brought these issues to the forefront.
Here are some quotes from the article:
In New York City just yesterday, reopening plans changed again, with Mayor de Blasio announcing a second delay in the restart date. First it was Sept. 10, then Sept. 16, with in-school learning starting Sept. 21. Now in-school learning is pushed back again, to late September or early October, depending on the age of the student.
Through this — and with parents daily absorbing an array of confusing and sometimes conflicting guidance about reopening — children are in a state of constant uncertainty, potentially causing anxiety or trauma, as they struggle to adjust to a fluctuating situation.
On top of this, we cannot forget that many children have experienced loss and suffering within their own families, as a result of the pandemic. It is reasonable to believe that this whole experience can induce trauma-related symptoms in children. And these can have devastating long-term effects.
The article goes on to give advice to help children cope with this rollercoaster of changes and corresponding emotions. Here is the link to the rest of the article.
A resource for schools is also available on Lakeside’s website. Our Neurologic Initiative has provided a filmed symposium that is available for schools to give them perspective, concepts and tools to help students return to school in a positive and supported way.Feel free to check it out at www.lakesidelink.com and look up our Neurologic training.
These are extremely difficult days for our children and older students. We have opportunities to help them regulate, cope and find some equilibrium in their lives as they return to schools.