The beginning of a new school year or starting at a new school can be stressful in the best of times. With concerns about health risks like the COVID-19 pandemic, the stress and anxiety experienced by students and their families can seem overwhelming. Students of all ages and grade levels may feel nervous or reluctant to return to school, especially if they have been learning at home for months. There is no doubt that school will be different this year. There may be a need to wear forms of protective clothing like masks; it may be difficult being physically distanced from friends and teachers while at school.
Whether at school or at home, caregivers can help their students express and communicate any negative feelings they may be experiencing in a safe and supportive environment. This can help them find positive ways to express difficult feelings such as anger, fear or sadness. As children and adolescents often take their emotional cues from the key adults in their lives – including parents and teachers – it is important that adults manage their own emotions well and remain calm, listen to children’s concerns, speak kindly and reassure them.
It is also important for children and adolescents to develop effective coping skills to meet the demands of challenging times. Pandemics are long and complex public health emergencies. Coping with the intensity and duration of such events can be difficult. This 90-minute webinar-style program addresses the emotional impact of COVID-19 and strategies for coping with returning to school.
• Three types of behavioral responses to public health emergencies
• Understanding the “Bookends Effect”
• The Bio-Psycho-Social response to COVID-19
• Strategies and coping techniques
• Helping families cope
• Coping with the challenges of quarantine
• Giving and seeking emotional support
• Developing effective stress management routines
• Resources for address