Helping students mentally prepare with returning to school in a pandemic

Helping students mentally prepare with returning to school in a pandemic

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -School leaders across the country are planning on how they’ll send students back to school during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here at home, some school districts have delayed the first day of school and some have made plans to start the school year online. But with all of these changes during this time, how are students coping with them?

Lindse Murphy, Executive Director of Behavioral Health Services at Memorial Health, says she believes students are nervous about what’d it would be like to go back to school right now.

“And just that normal anxiety you start to see in adolescents is even more normal and even more common because of what we are experiencing with COVID-19,” says Murphy

Savannah-Chatham Public School System announced they’re delaying their start day and beginning the year virtually, as have other schools across the WTOC viewing area.

Murphy says this will be an important time for school leaders to figure out how to use this delay proactively.

“Just making sure that they use this time wisely to look at what the research suggests on what children really need, what type of environment do they learn best in,” Murphy says. “I think they need to try to adapt as quickly as possible so that they can get back to normalcy as quickly as possible and whatever that new normal is.”

To help with this, Murphy suggests parents reduce their children’s screen time, make sure they get time outside and communicate with one another about how they’re feeling.

I would be asking them direct questions, ‘Are you okay?’, ‘Are you having any thoughts to hurt yourself?’ and just letting them know that they are supported and they and their feelings are normal and they are validated,” she says.

Murphy says some signs to look out for are changes in sleep patterns, physical regression, and children exhibiting in withdrawn behavior.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.